Musée d'Orsay: Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946). A Polish Symbolist Painter

Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946). A Polish Symbolist Painter


Stained glass
Józef MehofferVita somnium breve© Museum Narodowe w Krakowie
Józef Mehoffer is one of the striking personalities of the avant-garde that developed at the turn of the century calling itself "Young Poland", an appellation that signified their willingness to break from the heritage of the past from a pictorial point of view. The reputation of the artist, who sojourned in Vienna and Paris, and who was a member of the Viennese Secession, reached far beyond the borders of his country during his lifetime.

Despite this international celebrity, one should not overlook his militant action for the recognition of a national art. It was in the field of monumental art that the artist's commitment found its expression, as testify the impressive sketches for the frescoes designed between 1901 and 1903 for national monuments. His activity as a decorator was dominated by the execution of 13 glass panels for the Friburg cathedral (Switzerland). Their composition follows Symbolism and Art Nouveau while paying homage to national traditions not only in the themes, but also by a refusal of naturalism and the illusion of depth in favour of lines and colours. The same applies to his easel paintings, in particular the admirable series of portraits the artist made of his wife.

The purpose of this exhibition, which is not a retrospective, is to present about thirty paintings, fresco sketches and stained glasses by the artist that belong to the period covered by the Musée d'Orsay.


Philippe Thiébaut, chief curator, Musée d'Orsay

This exhibition is part of the Polish Season organised by the Association Française d'Action Artistique and the Warsaw Adam Mickiewicz Institute

16 June - 12 September 2004
Musée d'Orsay

galleries 68 and 69

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