Aleksander KOBZDEJ (Polish, born 1920 in Olesko, died 1972 in Warsaw) during his
studies at the Architecture Faculty of the Technical University in Lwów, he took up painting
under the supervision of Professor Władysław Lam. After the war he studied at the Academy
of Fine Arts in Kraków under the guidance of Eugeniusz Eibisch. In 1947 he became a fellow
of the State College of Arts in Sopot under Professor Józefa Wnuk, in the Department of
Volume and Surface Composition. Apart from painting he was engaged at this time in
sculpture and monumental architecture. In 1954 artist became a Professor at the Department
of Painting of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. From then Kobzdej had been elected
several times the Dean of the Faculty of Painting. His paintings had been shown in many
countries. He represented Poland at the Venice Biennial in 1954 and participated in the
Biennial in Sao Paulo in 1959 where he was awarded the 2nd prize.
"Kobzdej is an enthusiastic painter who knows how to put life into his subject matter,
how to animate it, to agitate it, whip it, extend it, to give it subdued or brilliant colours, to
make it smooth or rough, to enlarge or to contract it, to compartmentate it into cells, to pleat it
by differentiating the thickness, to imprint it with the sense of tragedy.
The titles of his canvasses: Crushed, Stretched, Projected, Treacherous, Conflict -
have something very striking about them. They are related to crude matter - one would say
In its substance, the painting of Kobzdej brings our perception to grandiose themes. It
suggests the conflict of elements, the cutting of stone, the splintering of wood, the surging of
fire. You see, all this is based on an order of the greatest simplicity and a scale of tones which
make you think of Genesis, with its rusty reds, acidic greens of rock and blues of lapis lazuli.
Sometimes, it is hard to say what kind of a precious stone appears framed in a burst of
splinters. Biblical quotations translated from the past onto the canvasses, rolling spaces... All
this is rivalry, a jet of water or a cascade.
In everything he does, Kobzdej shows an equal power. From morning till night this
warrior of great tenacity is under the spell of his work. His paintings are images of action. "In
my work - he tells us - I am a new man facing a new world. I feel the urge to enlarge and to
deepen my domain. I am not an 'abstractionist'. I am not assembling forms. Painting, to me, is
neither a chemical formula nor a rule of a game. I do not calculate. I create my universe, a
concrete world which I feel very profoundly. Hence my landscapes, my people, my problems,
And Kobzdej confides to me his dream of a marriage between the Orient and the
Occident, a harmony based on the accord of two extremes. To him, each region, each culture
has its moments of enlightment. The wheel is turning.
His pallet ranges from sonorous blacks, through pinks of dawn, salmon colours - to
the most subtle greens. This artist has a gift of a continuous rebirth of ideas, maintaining in his
painting an imposing monumentality. Every canvass is to him a new adventure. His recent
stay among us has enriched still more his powers by refining his scale of nuances, through an
even more moving gradation of sensitivity, and by developing an even more subtle delicacy of
his means of expression"
Pierre COURTHION, Aleksander Kobzdej [introduction for the catalogue], French and Company, Inc., New York, 1960