Xawery Dunikowski
Xawery Dunikowski was a Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 sculptor and artist, notable for surviving Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

, and best known for his Neo-Romantic
The term neo-romanticism is used to cover a variety of movements in music, painting and architecture. It has been used with reference to very late 19th century and early 20th century composers such as Gustav Mahler particularly by Carl Dahlhaus who uses it as synonymous with late Romanticism...

 sculptures and Auschwitz-inspired art.


Dunikowski was born in Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, a city he had an affinity for and would also use as the basis for a collection of art. When he was twelve his family moved to Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, and after finishing his education in a technical school he studied sculpture under Boleslaw Syrewicz and Leon Wasilkowski. At twenty one, Dunikowski moved back to Kraków to study sculpture at the School of Fine Arts under Konstanty Laszczka
Konstanty Laszczka
Konstanty Laszczka was a Polish sculptor, painter, graphic artist, as well as professor and rector of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków...

, admirer of Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

, and under Alfred Daun. He studied painting with Jan Stanisławski and after being enrolled for three years, he graduated with honors.

In 1902 Dunikowski began teaching sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, a professorship he would hold until 1909 when he was appointed to Chair for Sculpture at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts
Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts
The Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, or Kraków Academy of Fine Arts , located in Kraków, Poland, is the oldest Polish fine-arts academy, established in 1818.It is a state-run university that offers 5- and 6-year Master's degree programs...

 in Kraków. On January 18, 1905 he shot and killed with a revolver
A revolver is a repeating firearm that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. The first revolver ever made was built by Elisha Collier in 1818. The percussion cap revolver was invented by Samuel Colt in 1836. This weapon became known as the Colt Paterson...

 a fellow artist and popular Warsaw society figure Wacław Pawliszczak during a quarrel in a restaurant in Warsaw, then was arrested and released on 2,000 rubles bail while charged with manslaughter (crime of passion), however, he was never really tried by the Tsarist justice system, perhaps busy with the Revolution of 1905 and other problems, therefore he, being an Austrian subject, went eventually to Kraków and never did any time nor paid any retribution to the deceased family for his crime. Heading to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 before the beginning of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Dunikowski remained in France from 1914-1920 (served 5 years in the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
The French Foreign Legion is a unique military service wing of the French Army established in 1831. The foreign legion was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces...

) until he returned to Kraków in 1921 to take the position as head of faculty of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts. While his working on Academy he educated many Polish sculptors, e.g.: Jerzy Bandura, Zygmunt Gawlik, Józef Gosławski, Maria Jarema, Jacek Puget and Henryk Wiciński. Dunikowski did not leave Kraków until 1940 when he was arrested by the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...


War years

Dunikowski was arrested on 15 May 1940 and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

 on 26 June 1940. In Auschwitz he was assigned the number 774. The detainment interrupted his series of sculptures entitled Heads from the Kraków Palace, based on busts found on the ceilings of Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 castles. Auschwitz had demoralized the artist to a point where he said that he had died there, and refused all requests, mainly by Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 (SS) guards that urged him to make a model of the camp. Already growing old by 1942, Dunikowski became sick and was selected to be killed until his name was crossed off a list to be gassed, by a fellow Pole . Narrowly escaping death, he once again nearly met his fate in September 1943 when he was accused of belonging to the resistance movement within Auschwitz and was sentenced to be shot . However, due to further illness he was sent back to the hospital and had his sentence reduced . By 1944, still recovering in the hospital, he began to draw other prisoners. Each drawing had to be smuggled out and the ones that made it were sent back to Kraków. Dunikowski had still not completely recovered by 27 January 1945, when the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 liberated Auschwitz, but by 1946 returned to his position in Kraków. He also resumed working on the Heads from the Kraków Palace after the war.

Postwar period

By the time he had returned to his normal life and recovered from his illness, Dunikowski was seventy years old and had started to create larger art to coincide with many of his Auschwitz themed drawings and sculptures. His postwar interests started to drift toward architecture and tying it further into sculpture, and public monuments, most notably the Monument to the Liberation of the Region of Warmia and Mazury, and the Revolutionary Effort, located in Olsztyn
Olsztyn is a city in northeastern Poland, on the Łyna River. Olsztyn has been the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999. It was previously in the Olsztyn Voivodeship...

 and at St. Anna. Dunikowski also lived to see his works on display in his hometown of Kraków, exhibitions in Warsaw, and further exhibitions that reached all the way to Moscow and Venice by the early to mid 1950s. In 1955, Dunikowski was the subject of a documentary themed around his workshop titled Idę do słońca (I am Going to the Sun), but took little interest in the film itself or the director, Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda is a Polish film director. Recipient of an honorary Oscar, he is possibly the most prominent member of the unofficial "Polish Film School"...

. Featured in the documentary was another famous sculpture series by Dunikowski, Kobiety brzemienne (Pregnant Women).

In the same year Dunikowski became a professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, leaving Kraków permanently, and also held a professorship at the State Higher School of Visual Arts in Wrocław.

In 1964, at the age of ninety, Xawery Dunikowski died, leaving behind a legacy of art including some of his more famous sculptures, Macierzyństwo (Motherhood, 1900), Skupienie (Concentration), Fatum (Fate, 1904), Dante, sculpture series including the Women of Nieborow and the Jesuits' Circle, along with many illustrations, portraits, and other works. Considered to be the best 20th century Polish sculptor, Dunikowski is buried in the Alley of the Meritorious in Powazki Cemetery
Powazki Cemetery
Powązki Cemetery , also known as the Stare Powązki is a historic cemetery located in the Wola district, western part of Warsaw, Poland. It is the most famous cemetery in the city, and one of the oldest...

, Warsaw; his tomb sculpture was created by a former pupil, Barbara Zbrożyna
Barbara Zbrozyna
Barbara Zbrożyna was a Polish sculptor, author of figural sculptures, monuments, portraits, religious and sepulchral sculptures. Her style evolved from realism through the synthetic simplifications, expressive and metaphoric deformation, to abstraction. She was also a painter, drawer and poet...



The former palace in Królikarnia
Królikarnia is a historical palace in Warsaw, Poland in classic style, as well as a neighborhood in Mokotów district of Warsaw. A museum of Polish sculptor and artist Xawery Dunikowski is located in the palace since 1965.-History:...

houses a museum dedicated to Dunikowski. In the park many of his famous works can be seen. Among which The Soul Escaping the Body (in sandstone, 1918).
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.