„Mermaid” paper cut-out
Apart from solid statues of the Mermaid, which bear stylistic resemblance to the image in the coat of arms, the Museum holdings also include a considerable group of interpretations of the motif created by means of different, often original, artistic techniques. A prominent part of the oeuvre of the sculptor, medallic artist and ceramist Wojciech Czerwosz (1913–1986) is the cycle of several dozens of images of a woman with a fish tail, twenty-eight of which belong to the holdings of the Museum of Warsaw.
The artist was not born in Warsaw – he hailed from Łopuszna in the region of Podhale. Czerwosz began his education at the School of Wood Industry in Zakopane. He also received training from the State School of Decorative Arts and Artistic Industry in Kraków, as well as the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw under the supervision of Professor Edward Wittig (1879–1941), and later Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964). In 1949, alongside his wife, painter and ceramist Zofia Rendzer-Czerwosz (1919–2009), he settled down in Saska Kępa, quarter of Warsaw on the right bank of the Vistula River.
Czerwosz became involved in the reconstruction of the capital city, destroyed during World War II, similarly to many artists at the time, by joining works on the reconstruction of sculptures destroyed alongside the buildings. That pursuit undoubtedly brought him closer to art related to Warsaw, a fact that became manifest in ever more frequent references to the capital city.
Cut-outs enjoy a prominent position in his art. Initially, in the 1960s, Czerwosz treated that technique as a diversion from the hard work of a sculptor; yet, with time, cut-outs became his individual means of artistic expression in their own right. He developed a unique style, characterised by a synthesis and expression of form. Thematic cycles created in that technique were related to sport disciplines, wild animals, highlander motifs,
images of the heads of Polish kings, as well as legends. In the cycle of Warsaw Mermaids from the 1970s, the represented figures bore merely a slight reference to the established models. The artist deliberately resigned from some of their attributes, such as shield or sword.In order to create the Mermaids, the artist made use of an original material. He cut them out with a sharp knife in black paper acquired from photographic film packaging
and pasted them on cardboard.
Mermaid paper cut-out
MERMAID: 17,5 × 12,5 CM
SHEET SIZE: 32,5 × 22,9 CM
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