Benda’s charcoal drawing and watercolor Girl with Polish Eagle
Two artists from the collection of the Polish Museum of America - Henryk Grunwald and Wladyslaw Benda celebrate their birthdays today.
Grunwald (b. Jan.15, 1904; d. 1958) a precursor sculptor designed railings and fancy grates in the Polish Parliament, at the Unknown Soldier Tomb and the Palace of Ministers in Warsaw. He was also a jewel designer and gold stucco artisan paying special attention to fine-grained decorative detail. A master of composition in metal, Grunwald debuted in America presenting his artwork at the 1939 NY World Fair Polish Pavilion. These pieces including a stunning railing and a colorful painting are right here at PMA for You to savor. Our other star artist Wladyslaw Benda (b. Jan.15, 1873; d. 1948) was a Polish painter who joined the American Society of Illustrators in 1907. This nephew of actress Helen Modjeska became a popular storyteller in the 1920/30’s, a Polish Norman Rockwell of sorts. Featured in major US magazines, Benda designed many war effort and relief posters which reflected his patriotism for Poland. They are on display at the PMA. New York where Benda made his home acclaimed him as its very own master mask designer. He wrote the Britannica 1930 entry on masks. Fu Manchu, the 1932 hit movie starring Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy featured Benda’s masks. Our very special online tour will give you a glimpse of his genius as well as much more art you don’t want to miss.
By Beatrix Czerkawski
Oil on canvas Landscape near Lublin by Grunwald and his iron piece Polish American Coat of Arms