Ludwik de Laveaux, Hipolit House, Kraków

Ludwik de Laveaux (1868-1894) came from a French family that had been settled in Poland since the 18th century. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Kraków and in Munich. In 1890, he permanently left for Paris. Difficult material conditions and growing poverty contributed to the development of tuberculosis, the cause of his death at 25. Ludwik de Laveaux often painted light – the natural radiance of the moon and sun and the glow of a shining lantern fascinated him. In Paris, he felt lost. In Bronowice, in Tetmajers' house, where he met the young Maria Mikołajczykówna, he found peace. Wyspiański described this in ‘The Wedding’ – de Laveaux features there as the Ghost, Maria's tragically deceased fiancé. The painting displayed in the Hipolit House depicts a somewhat lazy summer afternoon in Bronowice. A flock of geese grazes in the yard and deeper in is a woman carrying water in buckets placed on a special carrier. On the left is a one-storey building with a gable roof; behind it is a pond surrounded by trees, and along the road on the right are small one-storey houses with whitewashed walls and thatched roofs. On the horizon are trees with a church tower looming in the centre. The idyllic atmosphere is emphasised by the sun positioned high in the cloudless sky, which nearly eliminates all shadows, and the hot air seems to shimmer in the heat. Painted about 1892 it is signed ‘L. de Laveaux’ in the bottom left corner.

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