Janusz Przybylski

Mr Jester


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Janusz Przybylski born 1937
Lithograph on board
Image: 583 × 452 mm
Presented by Professor Akumal Ramachander 1985

Catalogue entry

This catalogue entry discusses a group of works; details of the individual work are given at the end of the introductory text.

Janusz Przybylski born 1937

P11089 - P11090 Imagined Portraits 1983

Two lithographs from a series of ten, on cardboard, various sizes; each printed and published by the artist in an edition of 50
Presented by Professor Akumal Ramachander 1985
Lit: Janusz Przybylski: Portrety Z Wyobrazni, exh.cat., Galeria Kordegra, Warsaw 1986, [p.5]

P11090 Mr Jester 1983

Lithograph 583 x 452 (22 15/16 x 17 13/16) on cardboard 675 x 545 (26 9/16 x 21 7/16)
Inscribed ' "Figlarz" litografia 2/50' b.l. and 'Janusz Przybylski 1983' b.r.

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations from the artist come from a letter to the compiler, postmarked 14 March 1988.

P11089 was originally translated as 'Lady with Big Tits' and P11090 as 'Trickster' (Tate Gallery Report 1984-6, 1986, p.149), but in the letter quoted above, the artist stated a preference for the titles now adopted. The works belong to a series begun in 1965 which cover the media of drawing, printmaking and painting. In a letter to the compiler dated 1 July 1988 the artist writes that the series consists of '28 oil paintings, 10 prints and 15 pastels and drawings. The series is not finished. I still come back to it'.

Both P11089 and P11090 were made in Warsaw during March 1983, in the artist's studio as the Academy of Fine Arts. The artist worked with lithographic ink and crayon on zinc plates. In each case he cites 'the human face' as being the source of inspiration for these works. He writes, 'since 1965 masks of human faces have often appeared in my painting and graphic work. [They represent a development towards synthesis and simplification, based just on this motif'. The titles provided the starting point in the case of P11089 'Lady with Big Tits' and P55090 'Mr Jester', translated more idiomatically as 'Busty Lady' and 'Trickster'.

The artist stresses his intuitive approach to his imagery rather than their functions as representations of the human face:

This series of portraits presents the registration of impressions by the imagination, without caring whether the signs used in the work correspond to the ones existing in nature. Physical similarity is not of importance; important is the truth apprehended, deeply hidden - essential truth. Names like 'Mrs Bosom' and 'Mr Jester' used in a joking fashion, derive from intuitive associations caused by the methods of visual recording and composition of lines forming a work.
P11089 is related to works in the series in other media, such as 'Teresa' 1985 (Janusz Przybylski: Portety Z Wyobrazni 1986, pl.1).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.445-6


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