Polish Artist Beksinski
Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:41 AM ET
WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish contemporary artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, famed for his haunting fantasy paintings, has been found murdered at his home, police said Tuesday.
Police said they found multiple wounds on Beksinski’s body, discovered at his flat in a prestigious Warsaw neighborhood.
“His body was found late last night by his family. He had several wounds, some on his chest, which could have been caused by for example a dagger,” police spokeswoman Zuzanna Talar said.
The 75-year-old artist became famous around Europe and Japan in the 1970s and 80s for his paintings that depicted disfigured objects or people against a background of hazy romantic light.
“He was one of the best known artists of Poland. He created a language, a climate of horror and secrecy in his paintings. He engaged people’s imagination and it was very convincing,” said Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito, curator ofmodern art at Warsaw’s National Museum.
Beksinski, born in the south-east town of Sanok in 1929, was also a photographer and sculptor, and drew pictures often compared to the work of Austrian Ernst Fuchs, founder of a fantastic-realism school.
Polish painter Beksinski
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
WARSAW, Poland — Zdzislaw Beksinski, a leading Polish surrealist painter known for his images of death, was found stabbed to death at his Warsaw home on Tuesday, police said.
Relatives found Beksinski’s body overnight, and “everything indicates it was murder,” police spokeswoman Zuzanna Talar said. He suffered multiple stab wounds, and police said there were no signs of forced entry or robbery.
Beksinski, 75, was considered one of Poland’s leading contemporary artists. He emerged on the Polish art scene in the 1950s and was best known for his abstract renditions of skeletons, monster-like creatures and other apocalyptic images evoking death and decay.
“We all see death before our eyes,” Beksinski said at the opening of an exhibition of his work at Warsaw’s Zacheta Gallery in 2002, the news agency PAP reported. “I am not an exception.”
“Personally, I am more afraid of dying than death itself. This is not a fear of emptiness but of suffering – and this is what I am most afraid of.”
Beksinski also enjoyed a large following outside Poland – mainly in France, Japan and the United States – among fans of surrealist art and collectors, said James Cowan, the president of Morpheus Fine Art, which published a book on Beksinski and has sold some of his works.
Cowan said Beksinski’s paintings sold for between $30,000 and $50,000 to collectors – among them a number of “Oscar-winning people in Hollywood.” He said he could not identify the buyers. “He’s just a brilliant modern master,” Cowan said in an interview from his office in Las Vegas. “Poles consider him the finest contemporary artist. But the art goes beyond the borders of Poland. It is … very classical in style.”
Beksinski studied architecture in Krakow before throwing himself into painting, photography and drawings. His works hang in the National Museum in Wroclaw, the National Museum in Warsaw and in a dedicated museum in Sanok, his hometown in southern Poland.
In the 1990s, he expanded his repertoire to include computer-generated images in his trademark surrealist style.
“Zdzislaw Beksinski won our imagination and the hearts of everyone – the public and the critics,” Zacheta Gallery director Agnieszka Morawinska told PAP.
Though Beksinski depicted foreboding, dark images, he always resisted attempts to analyze their meaning.
“It misses the point to ask me what my paintings mean,” he once said. “Simply, I do not know myself. Moreover, I am not at all interested in knowing.”
Beksinski’s wife died several years ago, and a son, Tomasz, committed suicide after battling clinical depression, Cowan said.
Officials: Student Says He Killed Artist
February 26, 2005
REUTERS and ASSOCIATED PRESS
WARSAW, Poland. A 19-year-old student has confessed to killing contemporary artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, who was found with multiple stab wounds in his home this week, Polish prosecutors said yesterday.
They said the student, named only as Robert K., admitted late Thursday to killing the 75-year-old artist, who was famed for his haunting fantasy paintings often depicting death.
“Robert K. is a 19-year-old pupil of a secondary school and he has admitted to the murder. We have charged him,” Warsaw prosecutor Zbigniew Zelaznicki told a news conference. “According to Polish law, he faces life imprisonment.”
The prosecutor said Robert K., the son of a friend of the artist, had gone to Beksinski’s apartment with a 16-year-old relative, Lukasz K., to borrow money from him. They had been ready to use the “ultimate solution” if they failed to get what they wanted, Zelaznicki said.
“We are moved by the senselessness of this crime; we are moved by its ruthlessness,” said Chief Inspector Ryszard Siewierski.
Beksinski became famous around Europe and Japan in the 1970s and ’80s for his paintings.
He was best known for his abstract renditions of skeletons, monster-like creatures and other apocalyptic images evoking death and decay.
Art historian Tomasz Gryglewicz wrote: “Each of Beksinski’s pictures seems to be saying, ‘Memento mori: remember thou shalt die,’ and the message is especially forceful in his representations of the most widespread religious symbol in our civilization: the crucified figure.”
Born in Sanok in 1929, Beksinski was also a photographer and sculptor.
Teen Charged With Artist’s Murder
February 26, 2005
Warsaw authorities charged a 19-year-old man Friday with the murder of surrealist painter Zdzislaw Beksinski.
The suspect, identified only as Robert K., is the son of longtime Beksinski friend and aide Krzysztof K., police said. The two and their 16-year-old relative were all picked up for questioning Wednesday.
The 19-year-old confessed to the Monday night killing while in custody, said prosecutor Zbigniew Zelaznicki.
Beksinski, was considered one of Poland’s leading contemporary artists. He emerged on the Polish art scene in the 1950s and was best known for his abstract renditions of skeletons, monster-like creatures and other apocalyptic images evoking death and decay.
The 75-year-old was found stabbed to death at his Warsaw home Monday night. There were no signs of forced entry or robbery.
A motive was still not clear, though it appeared as if the 19-year-old had tried to borrow money from Beksinski, Zelaznicki said.
The weapon used, which has been recovered by police, was a small knife, he said. Krzysztof K., who ran errands for the painter, has been released but police are still investigating the 16-year-old, Zelaznicki said.
Police charge two in murder of Polish artist
February 26, 2005
Police have charged two people in the murder of surrealist painter Zdzislaw Beksinski, one of Poland’s best known contemporary artists.
On Friday, police charged a man they are identifying only as 19-year-old Robert K. the son of Beksinski’s aide and long-time friend, identified as Krzysztof K. with the artist’s murder. They charged 16-year-old Lukasz K., a relative to the father and son, with accessory to murder.
All three were picked up for questioning Wednesday after the 75-year-old Beksinski was found stabbed to death in his home Monday. There were no signs of forced entry or robbery.
The 19-year-old suspect confessed while in custody, said prosecutor Zbigniew Zelaznicki. Police have also recovered a small knife used in the killing.