Stanislaw Korpa

Stanisław Korpa and Willem Otten 1982 (photo Alina Otten)

Stanisław Korpa was born in 1930 as the youngest son in a large farming family with 5 hectares of land in the village of Jeziory (near Sieradz in the Polish province of Łódź). At the age of 8 he went to primary school where he was the top student of his class. After a year the school was closed due to the outbreak of war. In 1941 the farm was used by the Germans as a military training ground and the family had to move to relatives in a nearby village. Shortly afterwards the family was deported to Germany for forced labour. Only Stanisław and one of his brothers were left behind. Stanisław realized the communication with his illiterate parents through self-made drawings.

Mechanization 1982. Oil on canvas 60×93 cm.

After the liberation he returned together with his repatriated mother to their farm. Father had died in January 1945, the house was replaced by a large bunker and the field neglected. The young Korpa single-handedly took up farming and built in a few years a new home with a cowshed and barn.

The Lord gives Eve to Adam 1983. Oil on canvas 60×93 cm.

From 1952 to 1955 he fulfilled his military service where he carried out among other activities decoration work. In his spare time he painted portraits of Marshal Rokossowski, President Bierut, etc. After his discharge from the army he followed in addition to his farm work courses in technical drawing and design in Warszawa. Due to lack of sufficient prior education he was not eligible for a diploma. In the late 1950s, he began producing devotional-, landscape- and flowerpaintings and he also made tapestry. He sold these products to the rural population.

In 1960 he moved to the village of Ruda near Sieradz, got married and started an own farm with 5.5 hectares of agricultural land and a few cows. The following year his wife gave birth to triplets. Farming and building during the day and being busy with art in the evenings and winters became the structure for the rest of his life.

Playing children. Wooden sculpture. Collection Etnographic Muzeum Toruń.

In 1962 he participated with some paintings in a competition for non-professional artists in Łódź where he was awarded the 1st prize. After this success, he started to produce woodcarvings with which he won in 1964 the 2nd prize in a competition “Ritual art and folk toys” organized by the Museum of Sieradz. In 1966 he received 1st prizes at a regional competition for both his paintings and woodcarvings. In 1971 and 1972 followed 1st prizes at the national competitions “Polish nativity scenes” in Warszawa.

Jesus and the apostles Peter and Judas. Collection Archeological and Etnografic Muzeum Łódź.

The Museum of Sieradz organized in 1971 Korpa’s first individual exhibition entitled “Uses and rituals of Sieradz in the paintings of the folk artist Korpa”. In 1972 a second individual exhibition followed in Warszawa entitled “Wood carvings and paintings by Stanislaw Korpa”. In later years he exhibited many times at home and abroad (Yugo-Slavia, Germany, Belgium and England). His works often made the national press and television.

Korpa’s paintings and woodcarvings are included in the collections of museums in Poland (Sieradz, Lublin, Krakow, Łódź, Torun, Warszawa, etc.), Germany (Berlin) and private collections at home and abroad. He was a member of the Association of Friends of Fine Arts in Łódź and was awarded the prestigious Oskar Kolberg Prize in 1989 for his artistic achievements.