Witold Turkevich

Witold Turkevich was an artist, the schedule, the draftsman, did plastic images. But most of all he was inspired by work with such fragile and unique material as glass. Its fancy works with a filigree engraving bore not only decorative function, but were the real works of art and are stored in the best art museums of Poland now.

Contrary to romantic tradition, the artist seldom wants to be in the center of public attention, the herald of any ideas. His life is, as a rule, not rich in external manifestations, it does not wish to be object of talk and a gossip because as nobody else knows the price of intense internal life when the plan which was born in your head is embodied by your hands, bringing a certain new miracle to life. What else is necessary for happiness? Such is there was also life of the Polish artist from Kobrin Witold Turkevich.

He was born on February 26, 1926. Soon the family moved to Drogichin where there passed his childhood. In Drogichin Witold went to school at the Catholic monastery. However, as well as all generation to which it belonged did not happen to study up – World War II began. She found it on vacation in camp for scouts near Lublin. Thirteen years old Witold became guerrillas. The group into which it entered was engaged in elimination of the German police posts, release of prisoners, collecting prospecting information on movements of the German transport on the East on the railroad. War for it ended only with arrival to Poland of the Soviet Army. Apparently, it postponed a deep print in soul of yet not strengthened young man – he did not like to remember it, and even when it had to do several years later military service again, made escape attempt. However and this history for it safely ended.

From 1944 to 1946 Witold greedy studies, engaged not only at school, but also takes private lessons then, there at them earning additionally. In 1946 it is called up for military service, defined in navy where there was an escape attempt mentioned above. Any sanctions to the former guerrilla it was not applied, and in three years, after a contact to the citizen, Witold goes to Nicolaus Copernicus's university in Toruni on mathematical faculty. But in a year stops gnawing concrete of mathematical science and comes to National academy of the fine arts in Wroclaw. Here studies on a course of the famous Polish artist, adherent of "pure" art, in the future the rector of National academy, professor Stanislav Davsky. Exactly here, at department of ceramics and glass, Witold Turkevich for the first time got acquainted with works of Emile Gallet and brothers Daum and forever remained their hot admirer and the successor of those traditions which they put.

Witold Turkevich with the grandson Stas. A photo from family archive.

In 1955 Witold graduates from academy, defends an honors degree. Same year he married, and in two years the daughter Joanna was born. Offer it the place of the art teacher and design at art school in Strone Gut, in Silesia. In three years he becomes the director of this school.

But no teaching and organizational activity can replace life in art. Witold Turkevich constantly is in search of new ideas and ways of their embodiment: constructs new devices for work with glass, looks for new chemical compounds and alloys. In parallel participates in various exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Eventually, he decides to depart from teaching activity and accepts the invitation to become the director of the art museum in Klodzko Bystritsa. This town in the Lower Silesia is famous for the rich cultural and historical heritage. Being the director of the museum, Witold Turkevich can give more time to art. It was one of the most fruitful periods of his creativity. It works in graphics, in poster painting, does illustrations to books.

Witold Turkevich during stay in Dresden. A photo from family archive.

In 1976 under pressure of the authorities Witold Turkevich is forced to leave a post of the director of the museum. He was never a member of the Polish integrated Labour party (analog of the Communist Party in the USSR), and for the time being the authorities closed eyes to it. It was presented with a choice – membership in party or in resignation. Witold Turkevich preferred life of the "free" artist. Together with a family he moves to Zelena Gura where he devotes himself only to art. He as if also did not notice rough events of the beginning of the eightieth and socialist camp disorder too. He still participated in the Polish and international exhibitions, its works acquired the art museums of Poland and Europe, he continued the experiments with glass and in graphics. Apparently, when you create beauty, all the rest passes into the background. As one poet told about another: "I do not know – whether happy, but honest life of the artist he lived".

Witold Turkevich in Poznan died on May 13, 1993 and it is buried on a cemetery in the city of Karpach.

Vladimir GLAZOV, Brestsky Kuryer Newspaper, 21.02.2011


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