Stanislaw Raczynski
(1903 - 1982)
Artistic heritage

  • Woodcut

  • Painting

  • Commercial graphics

  • Cartoon film

  • Caricature

Stanislaw Raczynski studied painting at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, in 1920s. Before World War II his artistic interest focused on graphics and, in particular, wood-cutting, lithography and similar techniques. His early works were influenced mainly by the modernistic style in painting and wood-carving. His admiration for Salvador Dali was notable, though he did not follow the surrealistic style in graphical art. Among more classical authors, he was en enthusiast of El Greco and Albrecht Durer. He was also influenced by Polish groups of artists like Skoczylas and Pronaszko. Between late 20s and 1939 he was a successful young artist with great expectations. He married Bronislawa Gawin, a girl from an old Krakow family, who went on to become his great partner and supporter in all his life. The World War II dramatically interrupted his career. Stanislaw Raczynski had to forget earlier plans and work hard to survive and maintain his wife and son Stanislaw, born one year before the war.
After the war, in the obscure period of communistic oppression, his situation was nearly the same as during the nazi invasion. He never accepted any kind of collaboration with the regime, refusing permanently to practice the style of "socialistic realism" nearly obligatory for those artists who wanted to survive. His situation was bad not only for his lack of collaboration with the communists. The family name "Raczynski" had always been associated with the name of a known Polish family of counts. This implicated severe problems in the period of Stalinism. Being ignored by the official media and manipulated critics, he worked as an actor in a moppet theater and edited books for children, with his own poetry and illustrations. One of his children stories almost costed him some years in prison. It was a story about a "big bad man", who was destroying everything around him, mainly the children toys. It probably was not the author's intention, but someone from the censors or communistic authorities found a similarity between the "bad man" and Josef Stalin. Despite of all these problems, he had never stopped to create great woodcuts and drawings.
The most known works of Stanislaw Raczynski from the post-war period include the cycle of 8 wood-cuts entitled "Krakow" and the cycle "Architecture of Ancient Polish Towns". He also dedicated a nice cycle of wood-cuts to Polish traditions and farmers. In 1960s he experimented with more contemporary abstract forms.
Stanislaw Raczynski was an expert in romantic music and a good pianist. His repertoire included works of Chopin, Debussy, Mendelson, Albeniz, as well as Scarlatti, Mozart and Beethoven. His sense of humor was well known among his friends. He was also an enthusiast of fishing and motor-cycles. He always had some of those wonderful old machines, maintained and repaired by himself.
The works of Stanislaw Raczynski are not easily available. Many of his early works have been destroyed during the war. Some isolated examples of his wood-cuttings still circulate in art shops in Krakow, Poland.

Stanislaw Raczynski, Jr., October 1999


see also Stanislaw Raczynski Jr.: New book of S.Raczynski Jr.

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Stanislaw Raczynski gallery : wood-carving

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