Józef Szajna

JÓZEF SZAJNA ( b. 1922- d. 2008)
One of the most outstanding artists of the theatre and art world. A painter, stage-designer, director, theoretician of theatre, the creator of his entirely own authorial theatre plays, a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts [ASP] in Warsaw. It was he whom the critics of the Art Biennial in Brazilian Sao Paulo dubbed one of the five greatest artists of the 20th century. He was a participant of anti-Fascist fights, arrested and imprisoned in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. A member of the Anti-Nazi Resistance Movement of the National Army (ZKZ AK) in 1939-1945.
Born in Rzeszów, Poland, on 13 March 1922, died 24 June 2008 in Warsaw. Diploma in graphic arts 1952; diploma in stage design, Academy of Fine Arts [ASP] in Cracow (Kraków) 1953; stage of the Ludowy Theatre, Nowa Huta 1955 - 63; general director, performance director the Ludowy Theatre, Nowa Huta 1963-66; performance director; the STARY Theatre, Cracow 1966-71; the POLSKI Theatre, Warsaw 1970-71; founder, gen. director, performance director, stage designer the STUDIO Art Centre, Theatre-Gallery, Warsaw 1971-82. As soon as at the time of the Ludowy Theatre in Nowa Huta did Józef Szajna join a gallery with theatre, avant-garde visual activities and exhibitions with artistic actions - all in the same venue. He expanded this programme in Warsaw in his own-created Studio Art Centre, Theatre-Gallery, the activity of which comprised presentations and cultural exchange with abroad in the field of the latest art: exhibitions, concerts, film shows, performances, meetings, and workshops. The STUDIO Centre launched a collection of contemporary art, it accommodated the Post-Graduate Studium of Stage Design of ASP, teaching Polish and foreign students under the supervision of Professor Józef Szajna, and the Society of Contemporary Music. Here, a book collection with a reading room was initiated here, along with the Institute of Artistic Creation.
His works have been shown in practically all Polish cities and towns and during a long series of foreign exhibitions and performances. Szajna’s very broad co-operation with theatres and galleries comprised: Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
Prizes, Medals, Awards: Chivalry Cross of Polonia Restituta Order, Commander Cross, Commander Cross with Star, Polonia Restituta Grand Cross; Polish Critics Prize 1957; distinction ITI, Paris 1958; Critics Award Nowa Huta 1959; Minister of Culture and Art Prize (I, II, III Degree) 1971,1979, 2002; Prize of the City of Cracow 1971; a theatre in Port Jefferson in USA named after Józef Szajna, a member of Art -Aiap (Unesco), Szajna awarded the title of an Academic with a Gold Medal, Accademia Italia delle Arti e del Lavoro Salsomaggiore Terme 1981; Accademia Italia delle Arti e del Lavoro (Golden Centaur Prize) Salsomaggiore and Gold Medal of the International Parliament 1982; World Cultural Prize – Statue of Liberty awarded by Centro Studi e Ricerche delle Nazioni, Salsomaggiore and the European Banner of Art and Gold Medal 1984; Oscar d’ltalia ‚85 awarded by Accademia d’Europa Calvatone 1985; The Capital City of Warsaw Award, 1987; IV Quadrennial (Golden Centaur - for the most outstanding creators of contemporary world), Accademia Italia, Cremona 1988; International Honorary Citation from Experimental Theatre Cairo 1992; (Golden Mask Prize) Bielsko-Biała 1994; Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Prize USA 1995. In 1997 the Szajna – Gallery was launched, Rzeszów. Honorary Chairman of the Internationale Association Soc. Européene de Culture Poland, an active member of the Polish Academy of Skills, Cracow, a member of the International Auschwitz Council, a member of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martytdom Sites, a jury member of Leonardo da Vinci World Award, Mexico. Doctor Honoris Causa of Oldenburg University, Germany 2002. Doctor Honoris Causa of Silesia University, Poland 2003. Doctor Honoris Causa of Rzeszowów University, Poland 2007. Honorary citzen of the cities and towns of: Rzeszów, Opole, Tczew, Oświćcim. In September 2005 he received a prestigious award: „Gloria Artis” a Man of Merit for Culture. 01. 09. 2007 receives J. Masaryk Medal from the Ministry of Foreing Affairs of the Czech Republic for „... the many years of Medal contribution to the international remembrance of concentration camps prisoners”.
Works in museums and private collections in Poland and abroad, among others in.: National Museum, Cracow (Poland); National Museum, Warszawa (Poland); National Museum, Wroclaw (Poland); National Museum, Gdansk (Poland); Museum of the Göteborg City (Sweden); Museum of the city of Bochum (Germany); Alexander Pushkin Museum Moscow (Russia); National Museum, Osaka (Japan); Vatican Collection, Rome; Davies Museum, Boston (USA);

Józef Szajna – Annunciation

Józef Szajna – Annunciation
Józef Szajna – Annunciation

41 x 28 cm, drawing, 1994

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Józef Szajna – Beach

Józef Szajna – Beach
Józef Szajna – Beach

42 x 29,7 cm, drawing - ink, 1991

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Józef Szajna – Beginning

Józef Szajna – Beginning
Józef Szajna – Beginning

29,7 x 42 cm, drawing, 1998

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Józef Szajna – Kneeling

Józef Szajna – Kneeling
Józef Szajna – Kneeling

42 x 29,7 cm, drawing - ink, 1992

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Józef Szajna – Nude

Józef Szajna – Nude
Józef Szajna – Nude

29,5x42 cm, drawing

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Józef Szajna – Untitled

Józef Szajna – Untitled
Józef Szajna – Untitled

42 x 27 cm, drawing, 2001 

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