Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Józef Mehoffer, "Young Poland" Symbolist of Sorts

Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946), a Pole, was one of those painters I used to call "peripheral" when blogging on the Two Blowhards blog. Even though some readers questioned my use of the term, I rather like it and really ought to use it more on this blog. It's really a concise, two-edged, pun-like concept, the idea being that many perfectly decent painters are peripheral to standard narratives of art history because, in part, they were from and spent much of their careers in countries not central to the art world.

The Wikipedia entry on Mehoffer is here. A better, more comprehensive account is here in the form of exhibition notes on the Musée d'Orsay site. The latter link notes that he studied in Vienna and Paris as well as Kraków, and later was an active member of avant-garde Young Poland movement of around 1900.

The d'Orsay article's title labels Mehoffer as being a Symbolist, though scanning examples of his work suggests to me that his commitment to Symbolism was inconsistent at best.


Self-Portrait - 1894

Wandy Janakowkiej - 1896

Muse - c.1897

Strange Garden - 1902-03
Okay, this is Symbolist, and some call it pre-Surrealist.

The Artist's Wife - 1904
The Artist's Wife - 1907
The Artist's Wife with Pegasus - 1913
Three paintings featuring the artist's wife, Jawidga.

Europa jubilans - 1905
Jadwiga again?

Róża Saaronu - 1923

Vita somnium breve - stained glass window - 1904
Mehoffer designed a large number of stained glass windows.

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