Zdzisław Beksiński was born in Poland in the town of Sanok near the Carpathians Mountains in 1929. After a childhood was spent during the Second World War, Beksiński went on to university where he studied architecture in Krakow. Subsequent to this education he spent several years as a construction site supervisor, a job he hated, fought with pressures and countless boring details. He would soon throw himself into the arts. In 1958, Beksiński began to gain critical praise for his photography, and later went on to drawing. His highly detailed drawings are often quite large, and may remind some of the works of Ernst Fuchs in their intricate, and nearly obsessive rendering.
Beksiński eventually threw himself into painting with a passion, and worked constantly, always to the strains of classical music. He soon became the leading figure in contemporary Polish art.
Beksiński and his family moved to Warsaw in 1977. The artist had many exhibitions throughout his native Poland and Europe. He rarely attended any of them. Beksiński's art hangs in the National Museums Warsaw, Sanok, Krakow, Poznan, and the Goteborgs Art Museum in Sweden. Much of his art is displayed in the Sanok Museum of art in his native city.
Drawings from the 1960's
Beksiński remarkable drawings possess a strength in both mood and subject matter. Like his later paintings, they are intensely haunting and mysterious. The drawings, particularly, project a nightmarish quality reminiscent of the surrealist, Bohemian master, Alfred Kubin.
Paintings from the 1970's
Beksiński began painting in oils on masonite around the year 1970. His ability to manipulate the effects of light quickly became a hallmark of his work, and can only be compared with the renown abilities of William Turner. Beksiński's paintings are masterfully rendered, monumental enigmas. One thing they share is an aesthetic of beauty so potent that it overpowers any desperate nature of the given subject matter, as is similarly the case with Swiss artist, H.R. Giger. The paintings as a whole are wonderfully dark, and allow the viewer to interpret them as they will, as they will certainly get no help from this particular artist. As Magritte said: "The purpose of art is mystery."
Paintings from the 1980's
Paintings and Computer Graphics from the 1990's:
Beksiński's paintings have grown less representational over the years and now seem almost abstract in nature. Color and texture and now the principal themes in themselves. Not so odd, as the artist began his career in the abstract realm. His recent computer art, however, continues the lineage of fantastic realism, and the artist never allows the technology to get in the way of that he is attempting to convey creatively.
Beksiński was murdered in February of 2005, during a robbery attempt at his flat in Warsaw. He will be remembered as a brilliant artist, and by those who knew him, as a docile man with a profound wit and keen sense of the human condition. I cherish the time we spent corresponding as friends, self-aware neurotics who could not wait to try and top the other. What a remarkable piece of work he was. A bit of Woody Allen, a dash of Oscar Wilde for spice, and brushes of Francisco Goya and William Turner.
(Bio courtesy of James Cowan, All Rights Reserved)