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Lot description Show orginal version
Estimations: 20 986 - 34 977 EUR
65.0 x 54.0cm - oil, canvas signed l.d.: Jan Styka.

On the reverse, on the canvas in the middle, an oval, hardly legible stamp of a French company with painting materials; at the top left a sticker with an inscription (in ink): Calypso à la belle chevelure.

On the loom, l.g. inscription (in ink): 63 JAN STYKA | Odyssée XXIII. (see catalog cited below); next to it, a circular, illegible sticker.

Painting reproduced and mentioned, among others, in:

- Jan Styka, Odyssée d'Homere, published by Société Générale d'Imprim. et Édition, Paris 1923, vol. II, il. p. nlb. (between pages 104-105);

- Circular exhibition of works by Jan Styka, Tadeusz Styka, Adam Styka, Nowy Świat 67, Warsaw 1930, p. nlb. cat. no. 65 (XXIII. Calypso, the fair-haired goddess).

The painting depicts the goddess Calypso - a beautiful-haired nymph from the island of Ogygia in love with Odysseus, who wished to take the hero as her husband and grant him immortality, but obeying the orders of Zeus, had to allow her beloved to return to Ithaca.

This is one of 83 canvases illustrating Homer's The Odyssey, a series on which Styka had already been working since 1911, when he went on a trip to prepare the necessary sketches and materials. This is what Dr. Aleksander Malaczynski wrote about this trip in a biographical sketch of the artist: For a long time Styka - the "painter of epics" as he was commonly called by French critics - had dreamed of recreating the world's most famous epic: Homer's Odyssey. These dreams of his, dating back to his impressions of grammar school studies, were later sustained by Wojciech Count Dzieduszycki, who recited whole long paragraphs of Homer's songs from memory in Styka's studio in Lviv. So in 1911 Styka took his two sons with him, and "following Odysseus' footsteps" began a journey to collect materials for his great work. The exquisite landscapes recreated by Styka in his Odyssey compositions testify to what these studies were like. The trip lasted almost three months - and the olive groves, azure sea and beauty of the Ionian coast enchanted the artists. Styka stammered feverishly to ensure that the recently gathered impressions did not escape.

In 1922, the first of six volumes of a luxury edition of Homer's Odyssey with illustrations by Jan Styka appeared in an edition of 500 pieces published by the Société Générale d'Imprimerie et d'Edition, with a French translation by Eugene Barest. The edition was enthusiastically received, and the artist was honored with the Cross of the Legion of Honor. Reviewers - with admiration and pathos - wrote, for example, that it is now impossible to separate the name of Homer from that of Jan Styka. Pierre Harispe, when asked to preface The Odyssey, wrote: His paintings are the most beautiful commentary ever published about the Odyssey. Henceforth, whoever would like to understand and read with all the intelligence it requires and with the charm that the work of the divine Homer spreads, must read it with eyes fixed on Styka's work.

In 1923, the artist showed most of the paintings of the Odyssey cycle at the Grand Palais at the spring Paris Salon. The salon's jury allocated an entire room for the presentation of Styka's paintings. It was an honor so great that it reverberated in the press: Usually only after the death of a great artist do his colleagues acquire such generosity.... We Poles should be proud that the reborn Poland at this year's Salon is represented by an artist of such stature as Jan Styka - for it is an unprecedented event in the history of the Paris Salon to date, that a foreigner should be given a separate room for his paintings ("Polonja", Paris, May 20, 1923).

Jan Styka (Lviv 1858 - Rome 1925) - popular painter of historical and battle scenes, author of allegorical and religious paintings, portraitist, father of painters Tadeusz and Adam Styka. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, then in Rome, and from 1882-1885 with Jan Matejko at the School of Fine Arts in Cracow. After his studies, he spent several years in Paris and later lived in Lviv. In 1895 he traveled to Palestine. After 1900 he lived permanently in Paris, from where he traveled to the United States, Italy and Greece. A participant in many exhibitions, including the Paris Salons and the World Exhibition in St. Louis (1904), he enjoyed considerable popularity and even fame. He was a member of the Academy of St. Luke in Rome. He was also the originator and co-author of famous panoramas - Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice (1892-1894; exhibited permanently in Wroclaw today; together with W. Kossak and others), Golgotha (1896; now in Los Angeles), Panorama of Transylvania (1897; cut into parts, only fragments remain), and Martyrdom of Christians in Nero's Circus (1899; canvas lost during World War I). He was involved in illustration, including preparing illustrations for a luxury edition of Quo vadis? Sienkiewicz.

Early Art Auction
16 June 2024 CEST/Warsaw
Start price
18 655 EUR
20 986 - 34 977 EUR
Hammer price
34 697 EUR
Hammer price without Byuer's Premium
28 915 EUR
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Early Art Auction
16 June 2024 CEST/Warsaw
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