Nikifor Dec 4, 2008 11:50:20 GMT 1
Post by tufta on Dec 4, 2008 11:50:20 GMT 1
Also called Nikifor Krynicki, real name Epifaniusz Drowniak. Born 1895, died 1968 in Krynica. Considered one of the world's finest naïve (primitive) painters; self-taught.
Nikifor was a Lemko after his mother. His father was a Pole; the legend has it that he was a recognized painter, code-named "T". Nikifor's mother raised him on her own, in extreme poverty and hardship, hiring herself out for various household jobs. He inherited from her a hearing and speech impediment. Orphaned during World War I and unable to communicate with people around him, he was initially treated by the population of Krynica as a misfit, was ridiculed and isolated physically and emotionally.
The origins of his name (or nickname) are unknown. He used it from his young years (its first version is supposed to have been Netyfor) and, for a long time, had no surname. For the occasion of the first exhibition of his works, mounted at the Warsaw Polish Architects' Association (SARP), he was named "Jan Nikifor", as immortalized by a poster. It was not until 1963 that he was officially given the surname "Krynicki" (and a flat from Krynica authorities), his administrative status finally resolved. In 2003 the local court in Muszyna resolved, however, that his true name was Epifaniusz (Epifan) Drowniak.
Likewise, it is unknown when he started to draw and paint. From the very start, however, he was clearly focused on the target he had set for himself: to be a painter, a Matejko from Krynica.
Nikifor was a local patriot: deported twice to a remote corner of Poland under the Akcja Wisla [the 1947 deportation of southeastern Poland's Ukrainian, Boyko and Lemko populations, carried out by the Polish Army], he stubbornly returned to his home town.
Many of Nikifor's earliest preserved works, dating from before 1920, reveal his effort to perfect his skills. Wrote Tadeusz Szczepanek:
"The majority of the preserved drawings are par excellence study sketches, with traces of erasing and correcting wrong lines. Nikifor strives to master convergent perspective, plots axes of symmetry, moves the crossing point of lines to other spots, tests his ability to use the frog and bird perspectives".