Karol (Karl) Witkowski (1860 – 1910)

Karol (Karl) Witkowski. Boy and Girl with Christmas Tree

Dom aukcyjny podał bardzo precyzyjny życiorys artysty, byłego ucznia szkoły Jana Matejki. Malarz znany w USA głównie z rodzajowych prac przedstawiających głównie dzieci.

Lot 158. Karol Dominik Witkowski (New Jersey, Polish, 1860 – 1910). Boy and Girl with Christmas Tree, oil on canvas, 28 x 20 inches / 71 x 50 cm. SIGNATURE: lower right. Estimate $5,250 – $6,750. Starting $3,200. Broward Auction Gallery. 04/17/22

Karol (Karl) D. Witkowski (16 August 1860, Yazlovets, now Chortkiv Raion – 17 May 1910) was a Polish-American portraitist and genre painter, better known in the US as Karl Witkowski. He painted scenes of contemporary daily life in America. Karol Dominik Witkowski was born to a Polish family in Jazlowiec (Jaslowiec), near Buchach, Czortkow (Podole, Poland, now Ukraine). As young boy he showed unusual talent in making drawings and his parents sent him to school in Chortkiv (12 miles from Yazlovets). In 1879 he enlisted in the Austrian Army (in 19th century southern Poland was occupied by Austria and named Galicia), where he gained popularity by making portraits of his fellow soldiers and commanding officers, including a portrait of General Duke William of Wurttemberg and portrait of Lieutenant Field Marshal Emanuel Salomon Friedberg-Mirohorsky (this army officer also was a genre painter, it is possible, why later in USA Karl Witkowski became genre painter). In 1880 Witkowski left the army and moved to Krakow, where from 1881 to 1883 he studied arts at the Academy of Fine Arts under the directorship of Jan Matejko. Witkowski also studied arts in Munich under Karl von Piloty. Around 1884 Witkowski emigrated from Poland, like many others, and went to America, where he stayed for three years. During that time he created his first famous paintings of young people. In 1887 he left America and arrived in France. In Paris Witkowski studied at the Julian Academy (1887-1888) and continued to work on paintings and portraits. Most of his paintings done there he signed with the added initial of author’s second name (K.D. Witkowski). Some of Witkowski’s painting done in France: Portrait de Tomas Milatycki, Mother with Children.In 1889 Witkowski returned to America and stayed for over 20 years until his death. During those years, besides portraits of the elite in New York City and Newark areas, he made over 200 paintings of young people (mostly newsboys and shoeshine boys), their daily life, at work and at play, often with their pets. The style of these paintings recalls the style of John George Brown to some extent. Most of these paintings were signed “K. Witkowski”. From 1891 until his death his paintings were available for sale at various auctions and picture galleries of New York City area. For some time he had his own studio in Brooklyn, New York (1903).Upon his arrival in the United States in 1884, Witkowski lived in New York City (from 1884 to 1887 and again from 1889 to 1891), later moving to Newark in 1891, and then to Irvington, South Orange, and Vailsburg, Newark. Witkowski died on May 17, 1910, in Newark, from blood poisoning, survived by his wife. Witkowski died at the height of his artistic powers. In 1909 he registered 8 paintings through the United States Copyright Office and in just a few months of 1910 he created and registered 14 pieces more, also in the last months of his life, he exhibited his work at the State Fair of Texas and galleries of New York City. Karl Witkowski painted the elite in Newark and his skills as a portraitist to the wealthy were always in demand. But ironically it was his paintings of newsboys and street urchins in the same city that brought him lasting recognition. His paintings of children are remarkable for their odd combination of sentimentalism and realism. Karl Witkowski as an eminent European artist gave an entirely new study in American newsboy life, his paintings have a characteristic humor and brightness, they are serious or humorous. Karol Witkowski has exhibited his paintings in New York several times each year between 1891 and 1910. His paintings have been exhibited at auctions and galleries of New York, such as: Theodore Stewart’s Sallon, Henry C. Merry Auction, Schenck Art Gallery, P. H. McMahon Auction, WM. B. Norman Auction, James P. Silo Auction, Rohlf’s Gallery, Mathews’s Art Galleries, John Fell O’Brien Art Galleries, Woehr Brothers Auction, Woehr Bros Gallery, John J. Pigot Galleries & Loeser Art Galleries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s