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His mother was Maria Pietrzkiewicz Witkiewiczowa. Both of his parents were born in the Samogitian region of Lithuania. His godmother was the internationally famous actress Helena Modrzejewska. Witkiewicz was reared at the family home in Zakopane. In accordance with his father's antipathy to the "servitude of the school," he was home-schooled and encouraged to develop his talents across a range of creative fields. The venture was interrupted by the onset of World War I. After quarrelling with Malinowski in Australia, Witkiewicz who was by birth a subject of the Russian Empire , travelled to St Petersburg then Petrograd from Sydney and was commissioned as an officer in the Pavlovsky Regiment of the Imperial Russian Army.
In July he was seriously wounded in the battle on Stokhid River in what is now Ukraine and was evacuated to St Petersburg  where he witnessed the Russian Revolution. He claimed that he worked out his philosophical principles during an artillery barrage, and that when the Revolution broke out he was elected political commissar of his regiment.
His later works would show his fear of social revolution and foreign invasion, often couched in absurdist language. He had begun to support himself through portrait painting and continued to do so on his return to Zakopane in Poland. He soon entered into a major creative phase, setting out his principles in New Forms in Painting and Introduction to the Theory of Pure Form in the Theatre. He associated with a group of "formist" artists in the early s and wrote most of his plays during this period.
Of about forty plays written by Witkiewicz between and , twenty-one survive, and only Jan Maciej Karol Hellcat met with any public success during the author's lifetime. The original Polish manuscript of The Crazy Locomotive was also lost; the play, back-translated from two French versions, was not published until After , and taking the name 'Witkacy', the artist ironically re-branded his portrait painting which provided his economic sustenance as The S.
Witkiewicz Portrait Painting Company , with the tongue in cheek motto: "The customer must always be satisfied". Several of the so-called grades of portraits were offered, from the merely representational to the more expressionistic and the narcotics-assisted. Many of his paintings were annotated with mnemonics listing the drugs taken while painting a particular painting, even if this happened to be only a cup of coffee. In the late s he turned to novel-writing, writing two works, Farewell to Autumn and Insatiability.
The latter, his major work, encompasses geopolitics, psychoactive drugs, and philosophy. During the s, Witkiewicz published a text on his experiences of narcotics, including peyote , and pursued his interests in philosophy writing, Concepts and Principles Implied by the Concept of Existence After hearing the news of the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September , Witkacy committed suicide on 18 September by taking a drug overdose and trying to slit his wrists.
Witkiewicz had died in some obscurity but his reputation began to rise soon after the war, which had destroyed his life and devastated Poland. Outside of Poland his work was discussed as a precursor to post-ww2 European drama in Martin Esslin 's influential " Theatre of the Absurd " ,  and later in Hans-Theis Lehmann's "Postdramatic Theatre" Through his translations and scholarship, Daniel Gerould introduced English-language audiences to the writings of Witkiewicz.
Kantor brought many of the plays back into currency, first in Poland and then internationally, including The Cuttlefish and The Water Hen In the postwar period, Communist Poland 's Ministry of Culture decided to exhume Witkiewicz's body, move it to Zakopane , and give it a solemn funeral. This was carried out according to plan, though no one was allowed to open the coffin that had been delivered by the Soviet authorities.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Zofia Romer Retrieved 22 September Retrieved 9 April The Witkiewicz reader. Gerould, Daniel C.
Daniel Charles , Evanston, Ill. Warsaw: Interpress. Virtual Library of Polish Literature. Retrieved 13 December Retrieved 9 October Archived from the original on 8 February Retrieved 16 April The Witkiewicz Reader.
Northwestern University Press. Retrieved 22 November The theatre of the absurd 3rd, 1st vintage books ed. New York: Vintage Books. Postdramatic theatre. Retrieved 23 September The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 20 January Retrieved 28 January Tadeusz Polak.
Retrieved 11 November Archived from the original on 7 September Retrieved 31 October The New York Times. Retrieved 24 May Retrieved 21 July Other Stages. Witkiewicz, Poland's greatest modern playwright; first English-language performance by the Jean Cocteau Repertory". Retrieved 9 August CalArts Center for New Performance. Retrieved 29 October Categories : Modern painters 20th-century Polish dramatists and playwrights Male suicides Polish male dramatists and playwrights 20th-century Polish painters Polish philosophers Polish photographers Suicides by sharp instrument in Ukraine Polish male writers who committed suicide Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature births deaths Writers from Warsaw People from Warsaw People from Warsaw Governorate People from Zakopane Artists who committed suicide Photographers who committed suicide Philosophers who committed suicide 20th-century Polish male writers Artists from Warsaw.
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