Today we remember Stephen Kusmierczak Sr., co-patron of PMA Private Elizabeth Ann and Stephen Kusmierczak Gallery.
Mr. Stephen Kusmierczak Sr. was born on May 23, 1926 in Poland. In the words of his son Stephen Jr.: "His family left PL in the early Interwar years. Both his parents died from illness at a very young age, leaving my dad an orphan at about age 7. He was raised by his older brothers and sisters and the wider community of an industrial suburb of St. Louis, Madison, IL. He talked little of childhood to us, usually only to say how some had been good people. Or to remind us when little how fortunate we were to never go to bed hungry, and that we had our own home". Stephen Kusmierczak Sr. served his country as US Army PFC during WWII. But his sacrifice of time and his best skills to the community did not end there. For three decades Mr. Kusmierczak Sr. worked in law enforcement. Together with his beloved wife Elizabeth Ann, Mr. Kusmierczak Sr. raised a wonderful family. He loved people. He never turned down his friends when asked to help or even repair something. He died Oct. 8, 1999, at age 73 and was laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery-a United States Military Cemetery est. after the Civil War in Missouri. He was survived by his wife (who died in 2019), 2 sons, a daughter and grandchildren. One more quote from son Stephen: "Circumstances limited my dad’s opportunities in his life. He and my mom worked tirelessly to improve the chances of success for their children, especially through education. I am deeply grateful for their gifts to me".
In 2011, Stephen Kusmierczak Jr. together with his mother, Elizabeth Ann Kusmierczak ceremoniously opened the Fine Arts Gallery in honor of his parents. The Gallery is located on the 4 floor of our Museum and specializes in mainstream inter-war European class art. From Stanislaw Szukalski's larger than life self-portrait as Copernicus to a 1939 copy of a medieval Jagiellonian Dynasty University gold plated globe, this foremost collection spans a variety of figure sculpting in stone, wood, bronze and copper. The famous Zakopane school, unique to Polish art nouveau style is well represented at the Kusmierczak Gallery(as well as our Sabina Logisz Great Hall). Paintings on display at the Kusmierczak Gallery will take your breath away with their celebration of color, imagination and vivacity. Expanding from post-impressionism and cubism genres, the works you can admire here illustrate, in addition, classical and portrait masterpieces. The Kusmierczak Gallery is a must for art connaisseurs and all those who love beauty and life!
Photos display Elizabeth Ann and Stephen Kusmierczak Gallery collection's painting Summer by Tymon Niesiolowski, 1937, Polish Pavilion NY World Fair; Portrait of Jerzy Maciak by Witkacy, 1936, pastel; Elizabeth Ann Kusmierczak with son Stephen Jr. opening the Elizabeth Ann and Stephen Kusmierczak Gallery at PMA, 2011; Gallery's sculpture collection Stanislaw Szukalski self-portrait as Copernicus, 1913, bronze; Jagiellonian globe by H. Waldyn, 1939, Polish Pavilion, NY World Fair; Elizabeth Ann and Stephen Kusmierczak Gallery at PMA.
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