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Sold at Auction: Wladyslaw Brzosko



Wladyslaw Brzosko, a son of a Polish prisoner of the Czar of Russia, was born in Czyta, Siberia, in 1912. After the October Revolution of 1917 his father worked as a railway engineer and Wladyslaw spent his childhood travelling across Russia, China and Japan. While visiting an art museum in Vladivostok, Brzosko became fascinated by Russian landscape painter Ivan Aivazovsky and soon began to train as an artist. Upon his return to Poland in the 1930s, he enrolled in the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under Professors Kotarbinski and Skoczylas. During the years of German occupation, Brzosko participated in the Polish Underground (AK) and witnessed the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto in April and May 1943. The memory of this event haunted him for years after emigrating from Poland in mid-1950s. Brzosko devoted the next ten years to working on his "Warsaw Ghetto Series," an extensive cycle of paintings and drawings, as a tribute to the Jewish people.

After the war, Brzosko worked for several years as an architect and art conservator in the Gdansk area (northern Poland) while painting marine landscapes and other subjects. From 1956 to 1960, Brzosko lived in Paris among prominent artists and continued his painting. In 1960 he moved to New York City where, until recently, he maintained a studio on the Upper West Side. For seventeen years Brzosko supported himself as a night custodian at the New York Public Library and painted during the day. His devotion to his art was so absolute that he declined better job opportunities. Brzosko's body of work consists of numerous landscapes of New York City, Arizona, and Paris; portraits; still lifes and other genres. In addition to his oil paintings he completed countless preparatory sketches in ink, pencil and watercolor, which are in themselves distinguished pieces of art. Most of his early work perished during the war or was abandoned before escaping Poland in 1956.

In 1973, Brzosko’s portrait of Copernicus was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution symposium celebrating the astronomer's 500th birthday. In 1984 he received a gold medal for his painting Artist in his Studio exhibited at the Salon des Nations in Paris. Since the 1940s Brzosko's work has been exhibited in Europe and in the United States (see his current exhibit at the Holocaust Memorial Center, December 2010-May 2011). Wladyslaw Brzosko died on May 26, 2011 in Arizona.
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