[Self-Portrait, "Collapse, with Lamp", Zakopane]

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz Polish

Not on view

Witkiewicz was prolific in many mediums, writing plays, novels, and philosophical treatises as well as painting and making darkly brooding photographic portraits and self-portraits. In all his work, he describes a proto-existential sense of the self struggling in vain against the undifferentiated mass of men and the indifference of death; he often turned to drugs to recover this missing plenitude of existence.
Between 1912 and 1913, when he thought he was going mad, Witkiewicz made a series of extraordinary self-portraits and portraits of friends, his dying father, and his fiancée, Jadwiga Janczewska. After this time, his engagement with photography was brief, as he devoted himself instead to literature and painting. He took his life on the day Russian troops entered Poland in 1939–in part a gesture of national solidarity.

[Self-Portrait, "Collapse, with Lamp", Zakopane], Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Polish, Warsaw 1885–1939 Jeziory), Gelatin silver print

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