Zdzislaw Beksinski – 24 February 1929 – 21 February 2005, was a renowned Polish painter, photographer, and sculptor who is best known as a fantasy artist.
Beksinski executed his paintings and drawings either in what he called a ‘Baroque’ or a ‘Gothic’ manner.
The first style is dominated by representation, with the best-known examples coming from his ‘fantastic realism’ period when he painted disturbing images of a surrealistic, nightmarish environment.
The second style is more abstract, being dominated by form, and is typified by Beksinski’s later paintings.
Zdzislaw Beksinski is the only modern European artist to have had an exhibition in the Osaka Museum of Art in Japan.
A prestigious exhibition in Warsaw in 1964 proved to be his first major success, as all his paintings were sold. In the 1980s his works gained on popularity in France due to the endeavors of Piotr Dmochowski, and he gained significant popularity in Western Europe, the USA and Japan.
He soon became the leading figure in contemporary Polish art.
The late 1990s were a very trying time for Beksinski.
His wife, Zofia, died in 1998, and a year later, on Christmas Eve 1999, his son Tomasz (a popular radio presenter, music journalist and movie translator) committed suicide.
It was Beksinski who discovered his son’s body.
Unable to come to terms with his son’s death, he kept an envelope “For Tomek in case I kick the bucket” pinned to his wall.
On 22 February 2005 he was found dead in his flat in Warsaw with 17 stab wounds on his body, two of which were fatal.
The teenage son of his long time caretaker, who later plead guilty, and a friend were arrested shortly after the crime.
Beksinski’s art was gloomy and grim, though he himself was known to be a pleasant person, and though somewhat shy, took enjoyment from conversation.
He himself shunned art, almost never visiting museums or exhibitions.