Train de Banlieue

Memory painting. A journey through the photographic frame of Józef Czapski's painting.

By The National Museum in Krakow

Train de Banlieue (Commuter Train) (1967) by Józef CzapskiThe National Museum in Krakow

Józef Czapski was a painter, writer, art critic and officer of the Polish Army. He was a co-creator of the emigration milieu gathered around the Paris magazine "Kultura". As a painter, he was inclined towards expressionism, a style "closest to the violent and cruel era" that was the 20th century in the eyes of the artist. The painting shows the interior of a suburban train in France - the artist's place of life.

The artist's method of work consisted in registering elements of ordinary everyday life that strike him with color, shape, light or mood. Czapski "painted" pictures in the imagination - he called this activity "memory painting". While creating the painting, he tried to keep the first impression.

The individual style of Józef Czapski is based on the operation of a synthetic, expressively shaped shape and wide planes of saturated, clearly combined colors.

The artist wants to capture the momentary revelation; finds magic in trivial situations, and in ordinary people - beauty and dignity. He refers to the heroes of his paintings with great affection and tenderness, which is also given to the viewer.

Visible on the wall of the wagon bright, joyful advertising posters contrast with the tired face of a white-haired woman.

Elements of the composition have been surrounded by a strong contour that fills intense colors in bold sets. The clash of colors express the emotions of the artist-observer.

The unintentional manner of representation depicts a visible fragment of the door between train wagons. Such framing is typical for photography.

"When I paint - said Józef Czapski - I never think that I am doing it for someone or for some purpose. (...) Selfless attitude seems to me the foundation of art "

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