08/02/2020 12/07/2020
New York

From East coast to West coast Jan Sawka’s art continues to impress as not one but TWO exhibitions open up

Curated by Sawka’s daughter Hanna Maria Sawka, the exhibition will focus on Sawka’s interest in memory and place, as reflected in the paintings and etchings on display. Jan Sawka Estate

Artist Jan Sawka’s artwork is to go on show on both coasts of the United States this spring, reflecting the lasting interest in his work seven years after his death.

Sawka’s career spanned both sides of the Atlantic. He was born in Zabrze, in south-western Poland, in 1946, the child of an architect and a linguist.

After studying painting and print-making at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław and architectural engineering at the city’s Institute of Technology, he made a name for himself as a poster artist as part of the Polish Poster School.

New York’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art said: “Many of these images express a deep empathy and a sense of loss that only exile can bring, leavened by an expansive sense of the beauty that art and nature make available to human beings,” the museum states on its website.” Pictured: The Memory (1987).Jan Sawka Estate

After a short stay in Paris, he moved to New York in 1977 with his wife and daughter, beginning the American chapter of his career. At the time, he had just $52 in his pocket, but his work picked up quickly.

Soon, he was working as an illustrator for the “New York Times”. A few months later, he had his own art gallery.

In popular culture, Sawka is known for his work with the band The Grateful Dead, for whom he created eight banners that were part of the backdrop for its 25th anniversary tour in 1989.

A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Sawka became an award-wining artist designing film posters as well as magazine illustrations.Jan Sawka Estate/Facebook

Sawka won many awards over the course of his career. He died at his home in High Falls, New York, in 2012, at the age of 65.

This spring, Sawka work is the subject of two solo exhibitions in the US: one in New York and the other in California.

In New York, “Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place)” is on display at Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz until 12 July.

One of his most spectacular achievements was the creation of a 10-storey tall stage set for legendary American band The Grateful Dead's 25th Anniversary tour.Jan Sawka Estate/Facebook

Curated by the late artist’s daughter Hanna Maria Sawka, the exhibition will focus on Sawka’s interest in memory and place, as reflected in the paintings and etchings on display. 

“Many of these images express a deep empathy and a sense of loss that only exile can bring, leavened by an expansive sense of the beauty that art and nature make available to human beings,” the museum states on its website.

Sawka at Foxboro Stadium in late June 1989, during the first mounting of the Banner Installation for the Grateful Dead's tour.Jan Sawka Estate/Facebook

In California, the exhibition “Golden West? Jan Sawka's California Dream” at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University San Bernardino can be visited until May 9.

According to the organisers, the exhibition focuses on the “theme of California/America as a land of problematic promise”.

This spring, Sawka work is the subject of two solo exhibitions in the US: one in New York and the other in California.Jan Sawka Estate/Facebook

In addition to the two exhibitions, a two-day symposium on Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place) will be held by the Jan Sawka Estate in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute New York on 28-29 March.

To read more about Jan Sawka, click HERE.