Alfred Jan Maksymilian Wierusz-Kowalski
Born 11 October 1849 year in Suwałki. His father, Teofil, was regent of the landowner's office (notary). Alfred was the first child from his father's second marriage to Teofila née Siewierska, daughter of the estate administrator. The family was large – two children from the first and seven from the second marriage. The Wierusz-Kowalski, who were well off financially, had a house in Suwałki and a small estate in Dębszczyzna near Filipów, in which they spent the summer months.
W 1865 In 2007, Teofil Wierusz-Kowalski moved to the position of a notary in Kalisz. The whole family left Suwałki in early autumn. The journey, which lasted for several days, is well remembered by the landscape that is sensitive to the beauty, sixteen-year-old Alfred. In Kalisz, he continued his education in the last years of the government gymnasium. He was given drawing lessons by Stanisław Barcikowski, a graduate of the Warsaw School of Fine Arts.
Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski w 1868 year, he entered the Warsaw Drawing Class. He studied under Rafał Hadzewicz, Aleksander Kamiński and Wojciech Gerson. W 1871 He went on to further studies in Dresden, Prague and Munich.
He continued his studies at the Munich Academy under Alexander Wagner, he also attended the studio of Józef Brandt, an outstanding Polish painter of genre and battle scenes.
In Munich, which was a lively center of cultural life, Wierusz-Kowalski founded his own studio and stayed there permanently. He quickly gained recognition among local art dealers and an outstanding position in the artistic world. He painted a lot. He realized numerous orders. His paintings are deeply embedded in their native themes, depicting genre scenes from small estates and towns, often shown with humor and a hint of irony “Arrival of the postal ambulance”, “Travel accident”), numerous Krakow weddings, hunting trips and returns, and above all, dramatic attacks by wolves on people traveling by sleigh and on horses that are mad with fear, they were very successful. A lone wolf against the background of a winter landscape was also a frequent theme in the paintings. Historical and battle themes played a less important role in the subject of his work.
W 1903 year, the artist made a short trip to North Africa. Exotic Arab themes appeared in his work “Bedouins by the well”, “With a war order – Morocco”, “In front of the mosque”).
Wierusz-Kowalski took part in many international exhibitions, he also exhibited his paintings in Poland: in Warsaw, Krakow, Lviv and Poznań.
He was awarded prizes and medals in Munich, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Saint Louis i Louisville.
He also received a great gold medal in 1904 year at the national exhibition in Lviv.
His paintings were purchased by the largest galleries and museums in Europe and the United States.
In recognition of his merits, Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski received v 1890 year title of honorary professor of the Munich Academy. Although he did not conduct any systematic pedagogical activity, He always looked after young painters staying in Munich. His welcoming home and studio were always open to them.
Before 1910 in the year the artist started working, as he thought, over his life's work – big picture 5×10 m entitled “Wolves attack”. You know, that this work was exhibited in 1919 year in Warsaw (Hall of the Rowing Society) and Poznań. A special guide with photos of fragments of the painting and memories of the painter's youth spent in the Suwałki Region is attached to the Poznań exhibition.. The most dramatic fragment of the memories concerned the wolf attack on the Wierusz-Kowalski family, who traveled by sleigh in winter 1857 year.
This wonderful picture has not reached our time. It burned down in the wagon, which transported some of the equipment for the flat and studio from Munich to Poland.
Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski died in Munich 16 February 1915 year. His ashes were brought to the country in 1936 year and buried at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.
W 1966 year on the initiative of the Suwałki Region Museum, The National Museum in Warsaw organized in Suwałki an exhibition of works by Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski from the collections of Polish museums and private collections. W 1972 In the same year, a permanent exhibition depicting the life and work of this outstanding artist was opened in the Suwałki Museum. The exhibition was organized thanks to the deposits of the National Museum in Warsaw, to the deposit of the Museum of Art in Łódź, deposits and later the wonderful gifts of son Alfred – also a famous painter – Czesław Wierusz-Kowalski, his wife Hanna and their heirs from Paris and Warsaw, donated by Dr. Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski from Gliwice, and also thanks to the purchases of the Museum in Suwałki.
So far, it is the only permanent exhibition of this outstanding artist in Poland. Lovers and experts of his talent only in the city, in which he was born, he spent his childhood and early youth, they can learn about the artist's profile in such a wide range and admire his talent and great painting skills.