January 26, 1898|
February 21, 1951 (aged 53)|
|Collections||MS Łódź 26, MN Warsaw 2, Starak Warsaw 2, Pompidou 1|
|Web||CEAD, Culture.pl, Wikipedia|
Katarzyna Kobro was a Polish Constructivist sculptor of Russian, Latvian and German origin.
Life and work
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.
Konstrukcja wisząca (1) [Suspended Construction (1)], 1921; reconstruction by B. Utkin and J. Utkin, 1972. Epoxy resine, fiberglass, wood, metal. 20 x 40 x 40 cm. MS Łódź.
Konstrukcja wisząca (2) [Suspended Construction (2)], 1921-22; reconstruction by J. Zagrodzki and B. Utkin, 1971-79. Metal (band, cutting saw, ring, cross). 26,2 x 39,6 x 28,6 cm. MS Łódź.
Spatial Sculpture, 1928. Painted steel. 44.8 x 44.8 x 46.7 cm. Pompidou.
Kompozycja przestrzenna (4) [Spatial Composition (4)], 1929. Painted steel. 40 x 64 x 40 cm. MS Łódź.
- with Władysław Strzemiński, Kompozycja przestrzeni. Obliczenia rytmu czasoprzestrzennego [Spatial Composition: Calculating the Spacetime Rhythm], Łódź: a.r. (Biblioteka a.r., 2), 1931, 79+ 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.  (English)
- Katarzyna Kobro 1898-1951, Leeds: Henry Moore Institute & Łódź: Museum Stzuki, 1999, 186 pp.  (English)/(Polish)
- 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)
- Kobro y Strzemiński. Prototipos vanguardistas, Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki, 2017, 264 pp. (Spanish)
- 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.  (Polish)
- Małgorzata Czyńska, Kobro. Skok w przestrzeń, Wyd. Czarne, 2015. (Polish)
- Essays, book chapters
- Merle Schipper, "Katarzyna Kobro: Innovative Sculptor of the 1920s", Woman's Art Journal 1:2 (1980), pp 19-24.  (English)
- Yve-Alain Bois, "Strzemiński and Kobro: In Search of Motivation", in Bois, Painting as Model, MIT Press, 1990, pp 123-155, n296-302. (English)
- Janina Ładnowska, "Katarzyna Kobro: A Sculptor of Space", Artibus et Historiae 22:43 (2001), pp 161-185. (English)
- Monika Król, "Collaboration and Compromise: Women Artists in Polish-German Avant-Garde Circles, 1910-1930", in Central European Avant-Gardes: Exchange and Transformation, 1910-1930, ed. Timothy O. Benson, MIT Press/Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2002, pp 338-356. (English)
- Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak, "Katarzyna Kobro", Culture.pl, 2004. (English)/(Polish)/(Russian)
- Janusz Zagrodzki, "Katarzyna Kobro - wobec przestrzeni / Katarzyna Kobro - towards space", Tytuł Roboczy / Working Title, Warsaw: STEP, 2008. (Polish)/(English)
- Marzena Bomanowska, Sztuka w Łodzi: Katarzyna Kobro to absolutna gwiazda, Gazeta, 26 Feb 2011. Interview with Józef Robakowski. (Polish)