Joseph Rapacki (1871-1929) studied in Warsaw’s Drawing Class under Wojciech Gerson, then in the Krakow School of Fine Arts from 1887 to 1888. In 1888-1889 he studied in Friedrich Fehr’s private school in Munich. After returning from a trip to Europe, he settled in Warsaw, then in Krakow. For years he exhibited his works at Polish Salons and international exhibitions. In his work he dealt with landscape painting, often with the motifs of heather, floodplains, marshes and sandy fields appearing in his works.
Description of the painting:
The artist transferred the early spring Polish landscape to the canvas. The bottom edge of the painting opens up a view of an almost boundless ploughed field. The composition of the foreground creates the feeling that the view is absorbing the viewer, going beyond the frame. In the furrows dividing the fields and in the center of the painting, white spots are visible, which can be interpreted as the remains of snow or puddles after thawing. A dark strip of forest is a clear horizontal boundary, over which the gray-blue sky towers.
The work is based on the composition of horizontal strips, which are broken by the furrows shown in the foreground. The fields converge in accordance with the rules of convergent perspective to the point marked by a bright, white spot. The horizontal continuation of the earth strips are the birds placed over the central point, which attract the viewer’s attention. The painting is kept in a muted, cool color palette, the color palette is based on browns, dark greens and grays. This gives the landscape a specific mood. The view is captured synthetically, emphasizing the austerity of the early spring landscape.
Rapacki is considered a continuator of the Chełmoński style, which is visible in the way the “Fields” are captured – from a slightly elevated point of view of the landscape. The work is also compared to the works of Maksymilian Gierymski through the way of capturing light phenomena. The painting “March / Fields” is considered one of the most beautiful works of the artist.