Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz – Witkacy


Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz – Witkacy spent most of his life in Zakopane. He was an outstanding writer, playwrights, a philosopher, critic and painter. Art and philosophy were absolute values ​​for him. Perfectly familiar with all intellectual trends of the beginning of the 20th century, he drew experience from naturalism and modernism, all the time remaining a tough individualist. He created the concept of Pure Form.

He was the creator, which stretched out into the future, anticipating trends and events. During his lifetime, he was not fully appreciated; he had many ideological opponents among artists and intellectuals. He exposed himself as a creator, breaking the canons and staying true to your own ideas. He was an extraordinary man, demonic, strange and fascinating. He aroused admiration, bow, embarrassment, even disgust. He has been the subject of countless scandals, the subject of a million rumors. Today, he is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. enjoys interest and recognition in the world. This is evidenced by his novels, plays and monographs published in many languages. Witkacy's plays have permanently entered the world canon.

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz was born in 1885 r. in Warsaw. He was the only child of Maria and Stanisław Witkiewicz.

After moving to Zakopane, the Witkiewiczs moved to the house of Jędrzej Ślimak in Przecznica – today it is ul. Witkiewicz. Witkacy's godfather was the legendary Jan Krzeptowski Sabała, and her mother, the queen of Polish actresses, Helena Modrzejewska. Maty Stanisław was an exceptionally and comprehensively gifted child. He began to paint and write his first pieces at the age of eight. The home atmosphere was conducive to satisfying cognitive appetites, because the hospitality of Witkiewicz senior was used by the greatest personalities of the time.

Stanisław Ignacy and his mother had particularly strong ties. An attentive father took up education, that school distorts the mind, developing the child's interests according to the principle of no system. Despite the freedom, that the father left to his son in choosing passions and views, there were clashes of strong individuals, arguments and discussions.

Witkacy, having 15 lat, made his debut as an illustrator in Przegląd Zakopiański, two years later he participated in the first collective exhibition of art works in Zakopane. He passed his exams in a gymnasium in Lviv, w 1903 r. he passed his high school diploma. W 1904 r. traveled to Vienna, Munich, Italy and visited famous galleries. W 1908 r. he made contact with the Salon of Independents in Paris, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków under the supervision of Mehoffer.

W 1914 r. Witkacy's fiancée, Jadwiga Janczewska, she committed suicide. A friend from his youth came to the aid of the broken writer, blaming himself for the girl's death, famous anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, proposing a joint trip to Australia. During World War I, young Witkiewicz returned to Poland and volunteered to join the Tsar's Guard Regiment; he fought in the rank of second lieutenant on the side of Russia, there he survived the October Revolution.

W 1915 r. Stanisław Witkiewicz died in Switzerland. W 1918 r. Witkacy returned to Zakopane, to mother. Patch 1918-1926 they were the most prolific period in his work – then he wrote almost all dramas and novels; painting and theater studies were also established, philosophical and artistic views were formed. W 1923 Witkacy married Jadwiga von Unrug, in which he was madly in love. Zakopane was the place of his residence and activity, even though he traveled to Warsaw quite often, where my wife lived permanently. W 1925 r. the artist initiated the establishment of the Theater Society and the Formist Theater, in which he directed his own dramas. He was also involved in didactic work as a lecturer in philosophy at the Universal Holiday University in Zakopane.

Zakopane has always been an inspiration for Witkiewicz. He enjoyed mountain trips, he painted landscapes and photographed. He lived in guesthouses run by his mother or with friends, he spent the last seven years of his life in Witkiewiczówka with his aunts. The main source of income has been carried out since 1924 r. the unprecedented Portrait Company S.I. Witkiewicz, within which about three thousand paintings were created.

When World War II broke out, Witkiewicz did 54 patch, due to illness he could not join the army. With a longtime friend, Czesława Oknińska, he escaped from Warsaw to the east to the village of Wielkie Jeziora in Polesie. 18 September 1939 r. committed suicide, he was buried at the local cemetery.


Witkacy was not a drug addict, as was commonly believed. He was an experimenter, trying to use various specifics to stimulate artistic imagination. He signed some paintings with signs, to signify the drug symbol, what he took before painting.


Contemporaries remembered, that he liked to walk around Zakopane in bright sweaters and bright socks – of course, contrary to fashion and "unthinkable". In later years, a beret and a cane were a permanent element of the outfit.


He washed in cold water every morning, screaming awful at the same time. He spoke, that in this way he drives the animal out of himself, to be comme il faut all day long. He collected peculiarities and monstrosities, which he arranged in albums and showed to the guests. He passionately participated in séances. During one, he allegedly saw the ghost of his first bride, Jadwiga Janczewska. Ever since her death, Witkacy had been haunted by the thought of suicide – at least that's what he said.

Father's son

For the family, Witkacy was crazy – touchy, capricious and unpredictable. For these, who worshiped and respected Witkiewicz senior, he was a not very successful descendant of 'Uncle Stach”.


Witkacy loved women and sex. He had a lot of love, fascination and romance. He didn't want children. Area, with whom he lived in separation, she remained his spiritual friend for the rest of her life.

There were ladies among his lovers, artists and simple women. He experienced the famous romance with the outstanding actress Irena Solska, but also much was said about the relationship with the fiancée of a certain Zakopane hairdresser, whose revenge Witkacy feared strongly. The last friend and lover

Witkiewicz was Czesława Oknińska, which in 1939 r. attempted suicide, but she survived.

The scammer

Witkacy often scandalized people, but he had goals in it. He could receive visitors in pajamas, pissing into the potty without further ado in front of them. Apparently, this was how he detected homosexuals, which he hated. I also deny it, on the occasion, as if I was indulging in homosexuality, to which I feel the greatest disgust; as if I had sex with my Siamese cat, Schyzia (…) and it seems that the non-thoroughbred kittens born of her were similar to me…


Many witkacologists believe in the afterlife of the writer. The scandal involving the burial in Pęksowy Brzyzek is just one example. Another miracle happened in the Witkacy Year (1985), when the image of a friend of Tadeusz Langier was placed on a specially prepared seal instead of his image due to a mistake.

There is no Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz museum in Zakopane. The few portraits and photographs taken by him are scattered around different places – in Atma, at the Makuszyński Museum, at the Tatra Museum, in Witkiewiczówka, on Harenda and private homes. The largest collection of paintings can be seen in the museum in Płock.