Polish artist Katarzyna Kobro endured decades of having the devastation of the Second World War cast a shadow on her creations. Kobro’s emotional and creative lives were dramatically affected throughout this time, as was the case for numerous other artisans creating throughout this era.
Her narrative will always be connected to such historical occurrences since she was born throughout First World War and lived in a contested zone during Second World War. Nevertheless, she had legitimately assumed her position as the head of the Polish garde due to a revived respect for her artwork since the middle of the twentieth century.
Polish avant-garde artist Katarzyna Kobro produced groundbreaking pieces that stretched the limits of abstraction art. She was born in 1898 in Moscow into a household of dual German and Russian ancestry, although she passed her earlier days in Latvia. Throughout First World War, she traveled back to Russia, where she attended the Moscow School of Art, Sculpture, and Design.
Before being transferred to Moscow for safety, Katarzyna Kobro completed her secondary education at the 3rd Female Warsaw Lyceum, where her burgeoning artistic skills came to light. Thus, according to Nika, the artist’s child, her mom began making statues and paintings in middle school, first using flatbread and then cement. On her master’s degree, which she received in 1916, she received the highest marks possible in art, menial tasks, and biological sciences.
Because not all of Kobro’s life has indeed been recorded, most of it remains obscured in mysteries. To determine the reality, it is necessary to engage in informed guesswork. In 1916, she was most probable to have come into contact with Wadysaw when she was a patient in a Moscow clinic. Between the years 1917 to 1920, she was a student at Moscow’s School for Painting, Architecture, and Building, which at the time she had taken the position in the Fine Arts Academy.
Early Career & Training
Katarzyna Kobro subsequently wed Polish artist Wadysaw Strzemiski, and indeed the two of them escaped to Poland in 1922 when the Russian government launched a crusade to stifle “New Art.” She subsequently acquired Polish nationality and, together with Strzeminski, rose to prominence as among the most forward-thinking painters of the postwar years.
Even though she sacrificed a significant portion of her paintings, what is still there highlights how important she was to the advancement of contemporary art. Rather than creating emotional pieces of artwork, she focused on abstract artworks built on geographic information systems and scientifically developed criteria.
Kobro joined the Union Movement of Artists in Moscow in 1918. This was an organization of side artists that would include Alexander, Kazimir, Olga, and Vladimir, all of who were highly probable to have been part of the influence on Kobro’s sculptures.
In addition, Olga was a part of the company. Throughout her final year of school, Kobro uprooted her life and moved to Smolensk, where she performed a variety of part-time employment. Maria, her older sister, stayed behind in Moscow when the rest of the family moved to Riga around the same period.
Maria’s parents and sister Viera also made a move. During this period, her relationship with Strzemiski developed, and she ended up marrying the sculptor the following year, in 1920. Both have been active participants in the current social climate of their day; they headed a UNOVIS office, maintained relationships with notable figures like Eliezernd, and Malevich almost probably tried to create social procedures for Russian arts and culture.
Kobro’s Initial Artworks
Katarzyna Kobro created her initial artwork in 1920, but sadly, everything left of it now is a picture because it has been misplaced. Tos 75 – Architecture was the name of the work, and it was a dynamic collage constructed out of pre-made blocks of wood, steel, crystal, and rubber. Modern and impressionist elements were also included in the sculpture.
Seen between the years 1921 to 1922, Kobro most probably completed additional artwork in Smolensk. Both of the missing parts were subsequently reconstructed by Zagrodzki, the first painter to chronicle her entire body of work, and are currently known as Hanging Structures. As per Zagrodzki, the next artwork featured a unique personality and was assembled using components manufactured in advance.
The source claims that “the connection amongst the different forms was not stable” and that “the stress and vibrations of the metal elements generated fresh eﬀect,” which gave the illusion that the elements of the artwork were continually moving. However, at the same time, “the sculptor placed metaphorical symbols, the primitive modernist architecture ring and indeed the bridge the region enclosed by a moving, bending rim shape full of internal power.”
The Middle Years of Kobro Career
After experiencing their initial artistic adventures in Russia, Katarzyna Kobro and Strzemiski fled the country to escape the rising hysteria. It is believed that they left Russia around the turn of the twentieth century and reached Poland via an undocumented border checkpoint. In 1922, they were both living with Strzemiski’s relatives in Vilnius, but it was not long before Kobro moved to Riga to be reunited with her relatives there.
At a certain moment, Strzemiski began, among several other issues, to vigorously support the activities that his wife had been doing in Poland. In the most recent issue of the collective’s publication, “Blok,” there are two photographs of artworks created by Kobro. To facilitate Kobro’s return to Poland, the pair tied the knot in a cathedral in Riga during the same year. Throughout his short trip to Latvia, Strzemiski connected with several of the country’s amazing designers.
It is not known whether or whether Kobro created any new works in the years leading up to the Second World War since she spent most of her time at that time taking care of her children and maintaining her household. During the war, the family spent a significant amount of time traveling. The Strzemiski family was dismayed to learn that the artwork they had stored in the basement of their pre-war apartment in ód had been vandalized by the previous tenants when they returned to the city in the year 1940.
Post War Life
Most of Katarzyna Kobro’s life during the Second World War was spent in ód. Just after wartime, in 1946, she applied to join the Organization of Polish Painters but was turned down for participation. This means that she could no longer make a living from her painting. In 1947, she and Strzemiski filed for divorce, and after that, she was employed as a fabric designer making felt dolls and teaching Russian plus drawing.
She did this to provide for her daughter and earn a livelihood. Kobro was diagnosed with cancer in 1951 and passed away the following year. She gave most of her paintings to the Sztuki Gallery in ód in 1945, and the organization hosted a display of her artwork after her passing in 1956. She passed away in 1951.
Kobro’s Unique Artistic Style
There is a long and winding road that may be traced from previous works to future ones; this road illustrates the artist’s maturing political and aesthetic conscience. Similar to the case with Strzemiski, Katarzyna Kobro’s stylistic ideas encompassed not simply the piece of artwork as a whole but additionally the presence of artwork and, indeed, the function it serves beyond the sphere of the artistic.
Katarzyna Kobro wasn’t alive to see it, but the events of history have helped change people’s perceptions of the artisans who, during the Second World War, were forced to make difficult choices. Strzemiski’s output briefly eclipsed her artwork. However, Janusz Zagrodzki, who had already authored a book about Kobro’s work, began to recreate a few of her dispersed artworks around 1966.
This provided a clearer overview of her body of work and rekindled attention to her contributions to postwar artwork. The Museum Folkwang near Essen and the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo hosted a Constructionist display in 1973 that featured Kobro’s artwork. Her involvement with simplicity and interest in art appreciation propelled her to the center of the reconstructive trend.
Critics and academics carefully examined her sculptures during the 1980s and 1990s, eventually putting her in a flattering light. A one-person show dedicated entirely to Kobro’s art was held at the Mód Museum of Art in 1999. The piece known as Spatial Composition 5 is now on loan at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for five years.
This work served as the centerpiece of an exhibition titled Katarzyna Kobro, Shaping Space, which was open to the public until the spring of 2022. In addition, in January of 2022, a Google Doodle commemorated what would have been her 124th birthday, further establishing her place as a cultural icon in popular culture.
Kobro Work Style
During the interwar, Katarzyna Kobro was recognized as among the most accomplished avant-garde painters. Aestheticism, individualism, and subjectivism were three philosophical principles she rabidly rejected in her works. Instead, she went in the direction of the utter objectivism of form. Her major ambition was to produce an abstract piece of art using universal and objective standards.
She showed her most exquisite flair in the sculptures that she created. It is common to imagine infinite Space as featureless and devoid of focal or reference points. While this was going on, Katarzyna made an effort to organize her work in a manner that would prevent its components from being spatially distinct. Instead, it can cohabit with Space while simultaneously allowing It to move through it.
Art Museum In The City Of Ód
The two people got together and began creating a collection of artwork that comprised items made by European artisans they were familiar with and appreciated. This show included works by several well-known artists, including Theo Doesburg, Arp, Lissitzky, and Francesco Léger, to name just a few. Finally, the people who were a part of A.R. formed the Sztuki Museum in d so that their large art collection would have somewhere to call home.
The fact that artists were responsible for developing such an important library and museums was an uncommon scenario. The Sztuki Museum included the works of several of the most innovative and avant-garde painters; Kobro and Strzemiski contributed several of their pieces to the museum’s collection. Even today, the museum is still regarded as one of the most important institutions in the world for modern art.
The Spatial Artwork
Katarzyna Kobro considered the Space around her artworks to be the greatest significant aspect of her work. She conceived boundless dimensions in her artworks and produced them. Her goal was to create pieces that could cohabit with spaces while allowing Space to enter and move through them. According to her, “alteration of shape in its natural setting might be considered sculpting in its most basic form”. It communicates via shape and Space. When presented in the appropriate setting, art may become an inseparable part of the atmosphere it inhabits.
The artwork expands into the Space, and the Space expands into the artwork. The years from 1922 to 1939 were Kobro’s most creative, as it was during this time that she created her well-known Spatial Combinations, which combined artistic shapes, architectural elements, and the aesthetic of Constructivist theory. Just fifteen of her artworks are still there today, even though the chronology of the mid-twentieth century was very much against them.
Katarzyna Kobro is a Polish artist who created groundbreaking sculptures and art installations. Her work explored materials’ physical and spatial properties and the relationship between objects and their environment. Kobro’s legacy is immense, and her influence can be seen in the works of many contemporary artists.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you know about Katarzyna Kobro?
Katarzyna Kobro is a leading figure in the Polish avant-garde movement of the 1920s and 1930s. She was also an important participant in a variety of multilateral institutions that were concerned with abstractions.
Can you tell me exactly when Katarzyna Kobro was born?
Katarzyna Kobro was born in 1898 to a mother from Russia and a father of German and Latvian ancestry.
What is the reason for Kobro’s death?
Cancer took his life in 1951 when she was 53 years old, and he went away.