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M80, 1969

M80, 1969

Born in Poland, a graduate in 1946 of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and a resident of the United States between 1966 and 1999, Wojciech Fangor became a modernist artist with a highly varied career. His work includes the creation of environments, architectural, scenery and poster designs, and themes of culture embracing both America and Poland, present and past. In the early part of his career, while in Poland, Wojciech Fangor focused on Social Realism, then in the 1950′s turned to geometric abstraction and Op Art, especially challenged by form and color and the effect of his forms in space on viewers. Some of the work from this period are small dots of electronic pixels. In the 1970′s, he reverted to figurative art with faces and figures that “generate a singular emotional space.” Many of his pieces are mass-media inspired.

Magdalena Dabrowski, American art critic and curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art wrote of the artist Wojciech Fangor: “Exploring colour, space and their manifold relationships as his fundamental means of expression, the artist evolved a unique visual language reflecting his artistic interests, discoveries and innovations. His very personal approach to form and the manner in which it was intended to affect viewers resembled much more closely the three-dimensional perception of sculptors or architects, than that of painters with their emphasis on the two-dimensional and the mimetic.”(Culture UP)

Wojciech Fangor studied in Poland with professors Tadeusz Pruszkowski and Felicjan Szczesny-Kowarski. He became active in Social Realist movements in Poland and did both posters and paintings reflecting this interest. In the second half of the 20th Century, he devoted his expression to abstract painting, especially spatial relationships.

In 1958, a solo exhibition of the work of Wojciech Fangor was held at the Salon in Warsaw. Titled “A Study of Space”, it was the first “environment” exhibited in Poland. A reviewer described it: “The reconstruction of his environment from 1958 is designed to remind audiences and critics of one of the most important and most radical artistic utterances ever to be made about modern painting, an utterance that Polish art historians undervalue and that even seems largely to have been forgotten.”(Poland Embassy)

In 1970, Wojciech Fangor became the first Polish artist to have a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. In 1989, Wojciech Fangor donated one-hunded nine pieces of his work to the state of Poland, and they were added to the Jacek Malczewski Museum in Radom. In 1999, he returned to live in Poland, and moved to the town of Bledow between Warsaw and Radom and created a studio in an old mill.

Wojciech Fangor, one of the most distinctive painters to emerge from postwar Poland, died on Oct. 25, 2015 in Warsaw. He was 92.

Sources include:
US Embassy website
Poland Culture website

Biography from the Archives of AskART