Śpiąca Weiss, Wojciech (1875 - 1950)


Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950)
was born in Romania, from which in 1888 he moved to Poland with his parents. After graduating from a Krakow gymnasium he started studying at the School of Fine Arts. Numerous European travels allowed the artist to become familiar with contemporary artistic trends, whose reception can be found in his works. At the age of only 23, he debuted at the exhibition in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts. Recognized as a promising talent, he was a year later a member of the Polish Artists’ Society “Sztuka”. For years he regularly exhibited his paintings, winning numerous awards. His work can be divided into different stylistic periods. The first, known as expressionist, saturated with symbolism, was characterized by works inspired by the art of Edward Munch. The paintings painted with a dark palette were filled with uneasiness and pessimism. The next – white period – takes its name from the artist’s search for light. The works of this period, painted in a bright palette, are full of joy of life. Towards the end of his life he focused on the socialist realism movement, adapting to the realities of the time.

Description of the Picture:
The subject of the painting is a young sleeping girl. It is shown in a half-length portrait. The lower body is covered with a patterned blanket. The torso is scantily dressed, with a white shirt strap on the right arm, the other one probably slipping off during sleep. The uncovered neckline and left arm are covered by flowing long brown hair. The rather bulky arms, bent at the elbows, are raised above the head, as if stretching. The face is round, rosy, eyes closed. It rests on a huge white pillow, which is also the background for the figure.

The artist used a subdued palette of colors in the work, based on white, browns and muted reds. As in the painting “Portrait of a Girl”, there is no contour, making the image seem to blur. The model again is the artist’s younger sister-in-law, Maria Zylberberg, a painter who was then studying at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts. Images of Maria were a frequent motif in Weiss’s work. “The Sleeping One is a realistic study from nature, rendered with full volumetric form and almost photographic resemblance.”