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Feliks Topolski (1907-1989)

Feliks Topolski (1907-1989)

The significance of Feliks Topolski is suggested by those projects that were closest to his heart: the regular broadsheet, Topolski’s Chronicle (1953-82), and the sequence of murals, Memoir of the Century (1975-89); for his drawings and paintings comprise a uniquely comprehensive yet impartial record of the age in which he lived. He employed a swift, expressionist style for all of his projects, from illustrations to stage designs. This gave an emotional unity to his oeuvre, and even the smallest of his figures – such as a vignette for his edition of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1941) – seems to speak volumes.

Feliks Topolski was born Felicjan Typlel-Topolski in Warsaw, Poland, on 14 August 1907, the only child of the actor-manager, Edward Topolski, and his wife, Stanislawa Drutowska (who later divorced and remarried). From an early age, he witnessed many of the country’s turbulent political events, and depicted them in some of his first drawings, his artistic talent being nurtured by his mother. Educated at Mikołaj Rey School (until 1925), he studied under Tadeus Pruszkowski, first privately and then at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art (1927-32); particularly significant to his development was the summer school that Pruszkowski ran at Kazimierz.

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