Teodor Axentowicz (1859–1938) was a Polish-Armenian painter and university professor. A renowned artist of his times, he was also the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. I think of him as a Polish Klimt because of the bold gold found in many of his portraits. This unidentified beauty is one such example. In my search for more information, I just came up with more mystery:) I found another version of this portrait that looks to be more "finished," (see the last photo) but I must say: I like this one better with all the vivid strokes! And of course, the golden yellow is bolder, too. The album impressions help explain the well-preserved condition of this Polish postcard. Note that it was published by Zorza of Krakow but obviously printed with distribution in mind; hence the French "carte postale" added verso and the notation: Edition of the exhibition of Polish painters in Krakow. A German version of this card that I came across in my research dates this painting to 1908. But never did I find an identity of the lady. This postcard is typical antique size, about 3.5 by 5.5 inches. The white border shows its age but the stunning portrait itself is in near mint condition, virtually no surface wear. I've included a direct scan as well as a photo taken under lamp light and a photo taken at a window under natural daylight. The scan captures the colors more accurately but as you can seen, even "washed out" by light, this is such a striking portrait!
Axentowicz attended at the Academy in Munich between 1878 and 1882, which was immediately followed by studies in Paris. There he came under the influence of the Symbolists. This tendency can be seen in his renditions of folk rituals but is also present in his painted and pastel drawn portraits for which he is best known. While in Paris he found work as an illustrator for Le Monde, and received a number of commissions for portraits both here and in London. In 1895 he moved to Krakow, Poland where he set up a studio and found work at the Academy. He also became the cofounder of the Society of Polish Art (Sztuka). Many of his images were used on postcards. (Thanks to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York for this biographical information.)
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