Centerszwer (Centerszwerowa), Stanisława

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CENTERSZWER (Centerszwerowa), STANISŁAWA (1889–1943), Polish painter, graphic artist, and art critic. Centerszwer was born in Warsaw into an accultured Jewish family and attended a Polish gymnasium. She began her art education in Warsaw, where in 1904–07 she studied at a private art school headed by Adolph Edward Herstein (1869–1932), an ethnic Jew who was both an artist and a liberal public figure. In 1907–13, Centerszwer lived in Paris and took classes at private art studios. She displayed her works at exhibitions held by the Salon d'Art Independent in Paris, in 1911 and 1912. In 1913, she was among the organizers and participants of the exhibition of Polish emigré artists in Barcelona. Later in the same year, she returned to Warsaw, where she was immediately recognized as one of the leading women figures in Polish modernist art. At the same time, she was active in the Jewish art movement. In 1913, in Warsaw, she took part in exhibitions organized by Młoda Sztuka ("Young Art") association and Jewish Plastic Artists group. From 1914, Centerszwer regularly showed her works at exhibitions organized by the Polish Society for the Encouragement of Young Artists. After World War i, she was a member of the organizing committee of the Jewish Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, established in 1921, and participated in exhibitions arranged by the Society in 1920–30. She published her reviews of art exhibitions in the Polish press. Her first one-woman show took place in 1924 in Warsaw. In 1934, her works were shown at the exhibition of Polish women artists in Paris. In her paintings, she was seen as a profound connoisseur of West European art techniques. Following mainly postimpressionist stylistics while using, at the same time, the techniques of cubism, Centerszwer was perceived as a bold and original artist, as well as a subtle colorist. She created works in almost every genre while preferring portraits and landscapes. In 1939, when Poland was occupied by the Germans, Centerszwer and her family managed to flee to Bialystok then annexed by the U.S.S.R. In 1941, she failed to get evacuated and was transferred, with the rest of the Jews of Bialystok, to the ghetto where she died in the course of one of the last "actions."


Y. Sandel, Umgekumene yidisher kinstler in Poiln, 2 (1957), 44–9; J. Malinowski, Malarstwo i rzeźba Żydow Polskich w xix i xx wieku (2000), 230–2.

[Hillel Kazovsky (2nd ed.)]