Karol Pustelnik | Painting Exhibition September/ October, 2018

07.09.2018 – 19:00 We invite you to the opening of the exhibition of paintings by Karol Pustelnik.

“Beauty and painting are not to be neglected and avoided”

I was born in a fairly even, spacious area with lakes, ponds and a river. This river during heavy rainfall was very menacing, humming, flooding the fields around our house widely; I experienced it with great fear.

The meadows and groves around the river, oaks, ash, blackthorn, bird cherry, hops and other bushes were magnificent. I had the opportunity to observe various birds and animals, I liked to fish, which was a lot. From my youth, therefore, I was associated with the mood of nature and a different variety of seasons.

I was drawn to drawing and painting from an early age, I think I inherited this passion from my father, who liked to plan various birds and animals from wood, cut out ornaments on frames for paintings, decorated the apartment with various motifs and painted fantasy compositions with water paints on paper. In elementary school I drew with crayons, then painted with watercolors and competed in this with my older brother Frank and colleague Albiniak, who had outstanding skills and was usually better than us. But in 7th grade I matched him a little.

A few years after graduating from school, I met the painter and sculptor Wincent Balys and Franciszek Suknarowski, also an artist living in Wadowice. Bald, small blond of great beauty was very lively and cheerful. Mr. Suknarowski – tall, handsome dark-haired, always fashionably dressed, he was balanced and kind. I used to participate a lot in their conversations about art. In the following years I had the opportunity to meet in person the popular poet and prose writer Emil Zegadłowicz, as well as Stefan Żechowski, the illustrator of “Motors” who stayed with him in Gorzenie Górny. In the studio of Wincent Balys, who liked young people, so he was always full of him, I met Karol Wojtyła, the current pope.

Unloved Balys died in the Polish patriot’s death in 1939.

In 1937 I passed the exam at the Institute of Fine Arts in Krakow, but the war interrupted my studies. Afterwards, I signed up for the Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with a diploma in 1952. There I studied with professors: T. Kantor, J. Świderski, M. Wejman, Z. Radnicki and H. Uziembła.

I paint mostly from my imagination, so that I can realize for myself what surrounds me and what is me. I am looking for space, I would like to expand it so that it is determined not only by length and width, but also by time, sound and mood. The value of art is determined by individuality of vision and sensitivity of experience combined with a constant and sincere need for creation.


Karol Pustelnik is an artist with the status of “separate” in the Krakow Group. Although associated with her from the beginning of its existence, he has remained as if off the beaten track of major artistic trends and fashions, faithful to his own – as he used to say “eagerness to paint”. In his paintings, elements taken from reality are mixed with those that are the work of imagination, quotes from the world of nature and quotes from the world of art. Characters and animals, objects and interiors, trees and flowers, madonnas as from folk pictures – are subordinated here to a special, irrational space, where they coexist in a strange symbiosis. Like ‘taken out of ordinary contexts’, ‘ready-made’ objects, transferred to the canvas by the artist’s right of choice, collided with each other – they meet here in a conventional multidimensional space like a collage, or – sometimes in a simultaneous space, like a pop-art image. Seemingly mixed elements of different poetics and different realities – they create, however, new, internally coherent wholes subordinated to a special sense of order. The hermit can only combine the sensitivity of an artist aware of avant-garde changes in art with the painter’s poetic sensitivity – primitive.
The artist’s painting, so far “different” and his own – naked became amazingly current. In a nonchalant combination of reality and fantasy, in a drawing, “sketchy” kind of treatment of form, in seemingly childish spontaneity or naivety, finally in its intuitiveness and emotionality – it meets the paintings of the youngest generation of artists known as “Neue Wilde”. However, while the painting of the “New Wilds” is an expression of a kind of anarchy of the entire generation, its rebellions against applicable norms and systems in the name of postmodern freedom of creation, it is the result of his own concept of art and his attitude and consistency for years. What in their work results from many years of changes in art, what was prepared by the impact of subsequent avant-garde, of which only postmodernism drew far-reaching consequences – the Hermit achieved independently, earlier, directly and simply. His spontaneous, “naive” sensitivity allowed him to ignore the barriers between different poetics and juggle various artistic conventions in an original and – unexpectedly contemporary way.

Marta Tarabuła

Karol Pustelnik – born on 9 April 1918, Frydrychowice, area Wadowice

Primary school in Frydrychowice, then a five-grade public primary school
in Gierałtowice, completed on June 27, 1931

1933 – he meets Wincent Balys and Franciszek Suknarowski – sculptors in Wadowice

1936 – goes to Gorzeń and makes contacts with Emil Zegadłowicz and Stefan Żechowski. He will later become the author of the last portrait of Zegadłowicz made a few months before the poet’s death.

1936 – Wisła, on the occasion of the Day of the Mountains in the Spa House, a collective exhibition with participation
among others W. Bałys F. Suknarowski and K. Pustelnik. According to Bałys “It was the baptism of the future artist”

1937-1939 – studies at the State Institute of Fine Arts in Krakow, two-year General Department. Secondary school-leaving examination on June 21, 1939

1940-1941 – manages works on the polychrome of the parish church in Frydrychowice

1943 – deported to forced labor in Germany, from where he escapes and hides in Frydrychowice in 1944

1947-1951 – Studies at the State College of Fine Arts in Krakow, then at the Academy of Fine Arts, Study of the Conservation of Monuments and Works of Art. Discharge June 27, 1950; he graduated from the Faculty of Conservation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow on 2 October 1952

1953 – becomes a member of ZPAP, begins to participate in regional exhibitions and in TPSP Salons in Krakow; sporadically makes illustrations for ‘Literary Life’; for many years he devotes himself to conservation works and works on church polychromes; paints at the same time

I 1957 – Kraków, Exhibition of Young Artists in the Krakow District

May 1957 – becomes a member of the Krakow Group

X / XI 1957 – II Exhibition of Modern Art, Zachęta, Warsaw

1958 – an exhibition of the Krakow Group inaugurating the activities of Galeria Krzysztofory in Krakow, with the participation of T. Brzozowski M. Jarema, A.S. Kowalski, J. Kraupe, T. Kantor,
A. Marczyński, J. Maziarska, K. Mikulski, D. Mroz, J. Nowosielski,
A. Pawłowski, M. Piasecki, E. Rosenstein, T. Rudowicz, J. Skarżyński, J. Sterna,
and K. Pustelnik (Pulsating current, oil, 75 x 103; Speeding source, oil, 72 x 130; Clock strike, oil, 81 x 108). Since then, he has participated in all group exhibitions of the Krakow Group in Krzysztofory and outside Krakow (Warsaw, Wrocław, Lublin Rzeszów,
Nowy Sącz, etc.) also abroad (USA)

1959 – III Exhibition of Modern Art, Warsaw, Zachęta (Metallic sounds, oil, 100×140 cm)

1963 – completes one-year pedagogical study at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts
1964 – becomes a member of the reactivated

Photo report from Exhibition


Opening Ours



Tuesday - Friday







Kielce Cultural Center

Plac St. Moniuszki 2b

25-334 Kielce

woj. Świętokrzyskie