A number of original paintings have come to light after I wrote my Paintings, Part One post, so it makes sense to review these new finds here. All of them appeared as auction lot offerings at DESA Unicum, Warsaw, in 2020 and/or 2021; the photographs, titles and dimensions cited are from those listings. Some items may have been de-accessions from the National Museum in Warsaw, or at least were once in their possession.
These were all cited as being from either the 1920s or 1930s, and so I have arranged them chronologically on that basis. Dimensions have been converted from metric and are approximate.
Water Well in Kazimierz, circa 1925, oil on wood panel, inscribed on the reverse upper right: 6 cm | palisander. Size 10” x 8.5”. Palisander is a type of tropical wood (rosewood, jacaranda, etc.) and so the notation refers to the type and thickness of the panel.
Village Yard, circa 1925, oil on plywood, 9.5” x 12”
Landscape with a Cottage, circa 1925, oil on panel, 11.5” x 9.5”. It may be that these were all painted while Cybis was living in the artist colony in Kazimierz.
Portrait of a Woman in a Black Dress, 1925 watercolor on paper, 15.5” x 11.5”. Signed and dated 7/VI 25 / B. Cybis at upper right.
Young Man with Paint Tube, ca. 1925-28, oil on plywood, approx. 16” square and inscribed on the reverse lower left: Zaplacono 2 paczki (“Paid 2 packages”.)
Woman with Dark Hair and Green Dress, ca. 1925-28, oil on plywood, 17.5” x 14” On the reverse side is a painting of a nude black woman carrying a large bowl on her shoulder, which will be shown in the next post in this series which will cover all of Cybis’ nudes.
Portrait of a Man against a dark background, ca. 1926, oil on plywood, 19.5” x 16.5”. It is possible, based on the white undercollar, that this man may represent a local cleric.
I really dithered over what to call this one! The auction house described it as ‘man’s head with green paint’ and it does have a lot of green in it; also, saying ‘man with green hair’ isn’t accurate either. I guess it’s all up to individual interpretation but in the meanwhile I’ve titled my image Portrait of a Man Ca. 1926 instead. It’s done in oil on plywood, is about 8” square, and is dated A D 1926 at the upper left. At the upper right the date continued as 25/V (June 25th).
This painting can be discerned in this photo of a 2002 exhibit of Boleslaw Cybis’ work, at the National Museum in Warsaw. It is to the left of the large painting of the nude boy, and above the head of the woman in a white shirt.
Young girl from Lowicz, ca. 1926, oil on plywood, 13” x 9”
DESA Unicum described this as mother and child under tree, and there certainly is a suggestion of a tree here. The rather amorphous human shape could indeed be a woman cradling a baby, with a golden glow around them. Was this intended as a religious (madonna and child) subject? Or perhaps the mother simply has very long golden hair, a la Rapunzel! It is oil on plywood, 13” x 9”, and circa 1926.
This Head of a Woman can also be seen in the 2002 exhibit photo above, as the upper painting on the right-hand easel. It is oil on plywood, 12” x 10” unframed, and cited as circa 1929.
On the back side of the plywood are these pencil sketches of what appear to be construction or architectural beams and supports, drawn for some unknown purpose.
Autumn Landscape, cited as “before 1930”; oil on canvas, 15” x 18”
Woman in Yellow Beret is quite large at 61” high and 26” wide. Cited as circa 1932-1935, it is oil on canvas.
Portrait of a Boy Standing, circa 1935, oil on canvas, 30” x 18”
Golden-haired Girl, circa 1935-1936, oil on panel, approximately 14” x 12”
This portrait of Jeremi Kubicki is quite small, only 4.5” square unframed. Cited as circa 1937, oil on plywood which is inscribed on the reverse: 10 cm | oksyda | brazowa | „Kozak” | platki | zlota (10 cm oxidation brown ‘Cossack’ flakes gold) A web search reveals that Jeremi Kubicki was a Polish painter whom Boleslaw Cybis knew from both having worked on decorating the Polish ocean liners Pilsudski and Batory, as well as participating in the 1938/39 World’s Fair pavilion. Kubicki committed suicide in December 1938 at the age of 27, so it’s not known for sure whether this painting was done from life or in memoriam.
I definitely do part company with DESA Unicum’s lot description of this painting as ‘Goshawks’, because goshawks are not only not white, they are raptors who would never tolerate being kept in small cages like this. The birds shown here are pigeons and/or doves; the bottom cage appears to contain a pair of white fantail pigeons. The man at the left is holding a small cage with two birds of similar color to a hawk, but again, even a single goshawk would never fit into such a small cage, let alone two: they are 24” long and have a wingspan of 3 feet (one meter) or more. So, there are definitely no goshawks in this painting. Pigeons and Keepers would be a good description of this. It is a large oil on canvas, about 65” high and 37” wide, and is undated.
Head of Woman in the Italian style (probably 1930s), watercolor and gouache on paper. This is quite small at approximately 5” square.
Peasant woman, after Bruegel (probably 1930s), oil on plywood. This is also very small at 5.5” square.
Port or Dock Workers, oil on canvas, probably circa 1930s. Approximately 28” x 35”.
Boy in White Collar and Beret, about 10.5” x 9”; oil on gypsum board. Date unknown.
Sepia tone Woman’s Head, probably 1930s and possibly from the Libyan period; 14.5” x 11”. Oil on gypsum board and plywood.
The 1970-71 Cybis in Retrospect museum exhibit included a photograph of a Cybis work listed as Child, an oil on canvas “featuring a baby girl seated.” No ownership of the original painting was given in the exhibit catalog. However, the 1971 U.S. Copyright Office publication contains this entry: Child (Solemn toddler with pearl necklace & fancy tucked blouse; 1926 painting signed B. Cybis) Photo. Appl. ti.: Baby girl seated @ Cybis; 5 Feb 71; JU12761. “Appl. ti.” stands for “application title” and so the actual name (if any) of the actual painting could have been anything. Cybis was copyrighting the photograph of the painting because they did not own the original. I have not come across a photo of any such painting but who knows, it may eventually turn up somewhere. At least it should be easy to identify if it does!
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