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Artes.

Group of Polish avant-garde artists active in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) between 1929 and 1935, from 1933 known as ‘Neoartes’. Among its members were painters who studied in Lwów, Kraków and Paris: Otto Hahn (1904–42), Jerzy Janisch (1901–62), Henryk Streng (who after 1939 used the pseudonym Marek Wlodarski), Margit Sielski (b 1903), Roman Sielski (b 1903), Mieczyslaw Wysocki (1899–1930), the self-taught painter Ludwik Lille (1897–1957) and the architect Aleksander Krzywoblocki (1901–79). Between 1930 and 1932 they held 11 exhibitions in Lwów, Warsaw and other cities. They searched for new, modern art, but they never defined it or formed any programme. Their art was heterogenous and covered various disciplines: painting, drawing, graphic art, collage and photomontage. Some of them were students of Léger and followed his style, but most of them moved towards Surrealism, for example Wysocki in his Fantasy of a Fight (1930) and Hahn in his lithograph Composition with Leaves (1930; both Wroclaw, N. Mus.). They explored subjects popular among Surrealists, such as the journey, sea and dreams, as in Roman Sielski’s Seascape (1931; Warsaw, N. Mus.). But they also made use of everyday subjects and depicted simple objects. Finally they broke with the timelessness and unreality of Surrealist visions and called for involvement in socio-political art. In 1933 Streng organized an opinion poll on new realism in art, and in 1936 he published in the monthly magazine Sygnaly an article entitled ‘Fighting for Live Art’. The move to realism was characteristic of the majority of Artes members. After the break-up of the group only Jerzy Janisch remained faithful to Surrealism; the others, for example Roman Sielski and Tadeusz Wojciechowski (1902–82), turned to Polish Colourism or, in the case of Streng, to abstraction.

 

 


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