Roman Kramsztyk

1885 1942
(Pologne) 1885 /   (Pologne) 1942

Roman Kramsztyk was born into a bourgeois family in Warsaw. He studied painting between 1903 and 1904 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and continued to study at the studio of the painter Adolf Edouard Herstein. He then enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Munich, where his father, a pediatrician, sent him to study. He exhibited his work for the first time at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1911 and at exhibitions in Berlin and Barcelona in 1912. In 1913, his paintings exhibited in Krakow were a resounding success. During the following ten years, he travelled a lot to Poland with his wife, who was painter Louis Marcoussis’ sister.

He had lived in Paris for four years when World War I broke out. He then left France for Poland. In 1918, he was in Berlin and met Herstein, his first master.

Back in Poland, in 1924, Kramsztyk joined the avant-garde group Rythme. He was the only portrait painter in this group. He went through a period where he doubted his art and questioned his painting. He left Rythme in 1932. His style changed radically and he went back to a more traditional painting. He lived in Rue Denfert-Rochereau and spent his time between Paris and Poland. He was commissioned to produce works for industrialists and politicians.

Kramsztyk left Paris to live in Warsaw shortly before World War II. In the Warsaw Ghetto, he made it his mission to paint the war’s atrocities. A sketchbook, which presented tragically realistic drawings, was found and is kept in Israel. Wounded by a Waffen SS soldier, he died on 6 August 1942.