Katarzyna Kobro

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Born January 26, 1898(1898-01-26)
Moscow, Russia
Died February 21, 1951(1951-02-21) (aged 53)
Łódź, Poland
Web CEAD, Culture.pl, Wikipedia
Collections MS Łódź 26, MN Warsaw 2, Starak Warsaw 2, Pompidou 1

Katarzyna Kobro was a Polish Constructivist sculptor of Russian, Latvian and German origin.

Life and work[edit]

Born 1898 in Moscow to Eugenia Rozanowa and Mikolaj von Kobro. 1917 begins sculpture studies in Moscow School of Art, Sculpture and Architecture. 1918 enters National Society of Free Art Studies. 1920 moves to Smolensk; gives lectures on sculpture in the school of ceramics. 1920 marries Władysław Strzemiński. 1921 cooperates in organizing the Smolensk branch of UNOVIS group; works as a scenographer and poster designer. 1922 together with her husband illegally crosses Polish border. 1924 one of the founders of the avant-garde artist group Blok in Warsaw; exhibits works on their first exhibition in March. 1924 gets Polish citizenship. 1925 leaves Blok group. 1926 joins Praesens group; and in October participates in their first exhibition. 1929 together with Henryk Stażewski and Władysław Strzemiński leaves Praesens group to found a.r. [the real vanguard] group. 1930 collects modern art in Poland for the Collection of Modern Art organised by "a.r." group in Łódź; teaches Aesthetics of Interiors in the Economic Colleague and Economic School in Łódź. 1931 publishes Kompozycja przestrzeni. Obliczenia rytmu czasoprzestrzennego [Spatial Composition: Calculating the Spacetime Rhythm], a book co-written with Strzemiński, as the second volume of the "a.r." Library [Biblioteka a.r.]. 1932 joins Abstraction Creation group. 1933 becomes a member of the Forma editorial staff, the magazine of the Polish Artists Trade Union. November 1936 her daughter Nika is born. 1937 signs (as the only artist from Poland) Dimensionist Manifesto published by Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp and László Moholy-Nagy. 1939 leaves with her husband to his family in Wilejka. May 1940 together with her family comes back to occupied Łódź, where repressions force them to sign the so called Russian list. 1945 makes a donation of almost all her sculptures which survuved the war to the Art Museum of Łódź. 1946 despite all her attempts she is not accepted as a member of the Society of Artists; makes felt mascots to earn a living. 1947 separation of her marriage and subsequent trials for the rights to the child; fails to find a permanent job; makes her living with producing mascots. Opening of the Art Museum of Łódź opens in June 1948. 1948 accusation of "abandoning Polish citizenship". 1949 gets rights to teach Russian and since October starts teaching Russian and painting in the First TPD School. November 1949 sentenced to imprisonment. 1950 court of appeal exculpates her. June 1950 gets diagnosed uncurable cancer; after two-month treatment in the Institute of Oncology comes back to Łódź. Dies in 1951. She is buried in the Orthodox Cementery in Łódź.



Kobro's spatial constructions at the exhibition of a.r. group at IPS Warszawa in 1933, among paintings by Stażewski and Strzemiński.


  • with Władysław Strzemiński, Kompozycja przestrzeni. Obliczenia rytmu czasoprzestrzennego [Spatial Composition: Calculating the Spacetime Rhythm], Łódź: a.r. (Biblioteka a.r., 2), 1931, 79+[32] pp; repr., intro. Janusz Zagrodzki, Łódź: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Książki, 1974; facsimile repr., Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki, 1993; fragments repr., ed. Nika Strzemińska, Sztuka i Filozofia 13, 1997, 88-99. (Polish)


  • Rod Mengham, Kobro - Poetry, Łódź: Museum Sztuki, 1998, 39 pp. [3] (English)
  • Katarzyna Kobro 1898-1951. W setną rocznicę urodzin, eds. Elżbieta Fuchs, et al., Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, 1998, 182 pp. (Polish)
    • Katarzyna Kobro 1898-1951, Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, and Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, 1999, 186 pp. [4] (English)
  • Kobro and Strzemiński: Avant-Garde Prototypes, Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki, 2017, 192 pp. Contributions by Jarosław Suchan, Christina Lodder, Gladys C. Fabre, Juan Manuel Bonet; and texts by Kobro and Strzemiński. (English)
  • My, spadkobiercy? Katarzyna Kobro, jej wpływ na rozwój sztuk pięknych i projektowych w teorii i praktyce artystycznej ASP w Łodzi, eds. Karolina Kozera, Jolanta Wagner, and Beata Marcinkowska, Łódź: Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Władysława Strzemińskiego w Łodzi, 2017, 112 pp. (Polish)
  • Une avant-garde polonaise: Katarzyna Kobro et Władysław Strzemiński / A Polish Avant-Garde, eds. Jarosław Suchan, et al., Skira, Paris: Centre Pompidou, and Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, 2018, 200 pp. [5] (French)/(English)
  • Kobro & Strzemiński. Ny konst i turbulenta tider / New Art in Turbulent Times, eds. Iris Müller-Westermann and Linnea Jahn, Malmö: Moderna Museet Malmö, and Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, 2018, 176 pp. [6] (Swedish)/(English)


  • Janusz Zagrodzki, Katarzyna Kobro i kompozycja przestrzeni, Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawn. Naukowe, 1984, 164 pp. (Polish)
  • Nika Strzemińska, Miłość, sztuka i nienawiść: o Katarzynie Kobro i Władysławie Strzemińskim [Love, Art and Hate], Warsaw: Res Publica, 1991, 118 pp; new ed., exp., Warsaw: Scholar, 2001, 228 pp. (Polish)
  • Marzena Bomanowska, 7 rozmów o Katarzynie Kobro, Łodz: Muzeum Sztuki, 2011, 184 pp. [7] (Polish)
  • Małgorzata Czyńska, Kobro. Skok w przestrzeń, Wyd. Czarne, 2015. (Polish)
Essays, book chapters

See also[edit]