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Aleksander Żyw: Before and After, Works from 1934-1951

8 February 2021 6:00 pm

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In Depth, (detail),1948-9, oil on canvas, 61 x 50.8 cm

A talk by the artist’s grandson Tommy Żyw

Online Event

Aleksander Żyw was born into a Jewish family in Lida, Poland in 1905 and trained at Warsaw School of Fine Arts in the early 1930s. He was living and working in Paris when the War broke out and he fought with the Polish Army in France before escaping to the UK where the Polish Army was reforming. He arrived in Scotland in 1940 and was appointed as an official war artist. He would later discover that almost all his family had been murdered in the Holocaust. He made Edinburgh his home until he moved permanently to Italy in the 1970s.

Żyw continued to exhibit across Europe, with shows in Paris, Basel and a retrospective exhibition held by the Polish National Union of Artists in 1967. In the UK, he enjoyed a Festival exhibition at The Scottish Gallery in 1950 and 1957, and major exhibitions with The Scottish Arts Council in 1972, the Talbot Rice in 1975 and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1986. His last significant exhibitions were in Parma in 1988, and Desenzano in 1991.

This focused presentation by the artist’s grandson Tommy Żyw, Director of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, will offer a snapshot of a pivotal moment in Żyw’s artistic career. The group of work to be discussed, which date from the years 1934 – 1951, provide insights into a European painter who emerged from the devastation and suffering of war a radically altered artist, and with a body of work strengthened by the experiences he had lived through.

The event will be chaired by David Herman, son of Josef Herman, another Polish-born Jewish artist with strong Scottish connections.

To book, click here.

In partnership with The Association of Jewish Refugees