This is the first of a series of Archive posts showing original drawings made by Boleslaw Cybis from the 1920s through the 1940s, sorted by decade. Additional examples will be added to these posts as they are discovered.
Paintings will appear in two separate posts: part one is already in the Archive, and part two will follow in the near future. There will also be a separate post covering Cybis’ drawings of nudes, which thus far appear to have been only from the 1920s. However, in order to keep the G rating of this longer post (there are only 12 such drawings, compared to the more than two dozen shown below), the nudes post will appear in the Archive on its own.
Sizes given for each drawing refer to the image size only, and have been converted from the original metric citation. Drawings are arranged in chronological order.
NOTE: Although I normally watermark all images to indicate the copyright owner (photographer), this can be confusing when it comes to showing images of original artworks. Therefore, the photographs below are not watermarked but almost all originally appeared in the auction listings of DESA Unicum, a renowned gallery and auction house in Warsaw, whom I thank for the use of their photographs. The artworks came to them from various sources, including Cybis family members and de-accessioning from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw. If you are interested in the hammer prices realized, this can usually be determined by searching one of the large auction compilation sites such as Liveauctioneers or Invaluable; the sale prices will be shown in Polish currency.
Drawings (and two prints) from the 1920s
A study of musicians, circa 1920. Pencil on paper, 7.5” x 9.5”
This drawing of a woman carrying a mask was displayed next to the musicians drawing but no dimensions were given. The similarity of style also places this in the early 1920s.
This pencil drawing was titled by the auctioneer as “an artist at work”, but an examination of the details calls that into question. The man is seated a table upon which are seven drinking glasses of various types (water, wine, and aperitif) and also what looks like a platter. He appears to be polishing or cleaning another platter. In the upper right are some indecipherable words, the first letter of which is E, arranged in a slight curve as if perhaps a name of a restaurant as seen through its front window. The man’s clothing is more formal than what one would expect an artist at work in his studio to wear. Based on all this, I’d describe this as a drawing of a waiter or restaurant worker instead. The drawing is undated but the man’s hair style and clothes suggest the 1920s and so that is where I’m slotting this. Image size is 8.5” x 7”.
A colorful depiction of a sailor and his family, circa 1920-22. This is watercolor, ink, gouache on paper, approx. size 9.5” x 9”.
Hand study, 1922, pencil on paper, approx. 8.5” x 7”
This watercolor and pencil on paper is titled Taniec na balu maskowym (Dancing at the masquerade ball) and dated 1922; size 10” x 14.5”. The only available image was a tiny thumbnail (not from DESA Unicum) and although I have done my best to enlarge it, the result is less than adequate; perhaps a larger image will surface one day, to replace this one.
Titled “At Confession”, this etching on paper is approximately 8” square. Circa 1923.
Titled “Epitaph for Stanislaw Grabowski”, this is actually a lithograph, not an original. Dated 1923 in the design and measures 17.5” x 11.5”. There was a painter and ceramicist by this name in Poland, born in 1901 and died in 1957. I do not know what the meaning of 1923 is in that context.
This, too, is a print. Described as a mezzotint on paper and ‘head of old fat woman’, the image size is 6” x 5”. It is dated 1924 in the print plate in the lower right corner.
This room interior, circa 1925, is charcoal on paper and 9” x 12”. A typical ‘bachelor’s pad’?
These next three drawings all depict wooden mannequins in various poses. Here we have a mannequin at the riverside, sanguine (red crayon) on paper, 16” x 21” . This is dated at the lower right 24/III 25 (24th March 1925).
This drawing of two mannequins and a frog also has a preliminary sketch (lower image) on the reverse. The finished drawing is signed and dated BC 25 at the lower left corner. Sanguine and crayon on paper, 21” x 32”
Here is a mannequin woman in a turban, also from 1925. Sanguine and ink on paper, 17” x 13.5”
This next group of drawings were all done in the autumn of 1925 during Boleslaw Cybis’ time at the artist colony in Kazimierz, a small city south of Krakow.
Windmill, crayon on paper, 8.5” x 11”. It is dated at lower right: 25/IX 25 r, (Sept. 25, 1925)
Cells in Kazimierz, 1925, sanguine on paper, 10” x 8”; dated at lower right: 30/XI, (November 30)
Old houses in Kazimierz, 1925, charcoal on paper, 8” x 10”.
Bushes on the hills, 1925, crayon on paper, 10” x 13”.
Harbor on the Vistula, 1925, pencil on paper, 7” x 9”, dated lower right: 7/X.25 (Oct. 7, 1925). The Vistula is the longest river in Poland.
This young woman’s head displays the style of the Art Deco era. Sanguine crayon on paper, 16” x 13”, dated at lower left: 20 I 26 (January 20, 1926)
Woman wearing a pearl necklace, circa 1925-1929, crayon and pastel on paper, 24” x 14.5”. Coincidentally, certain porcelain busts that the Cybis studio produced during the 1940s display echoes of this particular drawing, with her elongated neck, lidded eyes, hair waves, and pearl necklace.
Young girl with blue eyes in watercolor, crayon and pencil on paper. It is dated upper left.: 13/VIII 26 (Aug. 13, 1926) and is 9.5” square
This triptych of young boys heads is also from 1926. Done in sanguine on paper, the three together are approx. 15” high and 30” wide
This head of a young girl is undated but probably from same period; watercolor and pencil on paper, approx. 10.5” x 10”
Landscape with couple and car, circa 1927; watercolor, pencil and ink on paper, approximately 7” x 8”
Tavern scene, circa 1927-29, pencil on paper, 5.5” x 6”. This is an amusing drawing, showing a group of men playing cards amidst a bit of a ruckus; one has brought his young child, who is watching the tavern cat hissing at another man’s sleeping dog. The waitress is trying to free herself from the clutches of another fellow, while another man is pulling at the sleeve of her dress. The bartender watches the scene from a safe distance; probably just another day on the job for him!
A boar’s head, circa 1929, sanguine on paper, 17.5” x 21”
Additional drawings from the 1920s will be added to this post when discovered, and their appearance noted in New in the Archive for that particular month.
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The Cybis Archive is a continually-updated website that provides the most comprehensive range of information about Cybis within a single source. It is not and never has been part of the Cybis Porcelain studio, which is no longer in business.