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Wiesława Stefańska is a painter and consen/ator of historical monuments, or rather consen/ator and painter.

In any case, the ranking of these professions is of no significance when we consider the fact that they are closely linked with each other, and they also affect each other according to the rules of the feedback process in which the result has its impact on the cause. Surely, conservation of historical monuments implies a masterly command of the techniques and technologies of the predecessors and constant contact with the best works of art, sińce nobody conserves obvious junk. Conservation, thus, is a knowledge of the most versatile combinations of different forms of composition and equally complex sets of colours. It is a thorough knowiedge of the opportunities provided to the artist as the result of a skilful use of the paintbrush. It also implies great patience, hard work, and reliability as well as the analysis of decisions once taken - these factors are indispensable to the proper functioning of art.

Painting, in turn, is the ability of translating one's feelings and thoughts into the language of forms and colours. Moreover, painting provides insights into the feelings and thoughts of other artists, including the ones whose works you are dealing with, thus making it possible to supplement the missing components of the painting.

What would be the value of painting without intuition? It would be merely a skilfully performed handicraft. No morę than that. Conservation and painting are also linked, as they must be, by good taste and a keen eye. These are two fundamental features that art had to be reminded about at the time of the gracious rule of postmodemism. Today, at the close of the century, nobody, or almost nobody, follows Apollinaire's motto that "one should distinguish between the idea of beauty and that of painting", and nobody, or again almost nobody, tries to, shock with ugliness. For was not Renoir right in saying, "for we a picture must be something pleasant, joyful, and lovely. Yes, lovely. There are enough ugly things in the world for as to create morę of them".

Wiesława Stefańska is heir to the spirit and thinking of the great impressionist with whom, as well as with the epoch itself, she has much in common. For Stefańska's art is a direct continuation of impressionism and its offshoot, postimpressionism - the two schools which under the namo of "colourism" exerted the greatest influence on the painting of the passing century.

This influence was so powerful that it was referred to as "Polish" or even "Cracovian". Thus, Wiesława Stefeńska accepts the brightness of that school of painting, as well as the harmony of its rangę of colours evenness of composition and narrow rangę of themes limited to landscapes, still life, nudes, and portraits. For it matters how one paints, not what one paints.

Stefańska also accepts the sunny climate and aesthetics of postimpressionism along with its decorative inclination; she enjoys the play of colours on the surface referred to in the professional jargon as "playing with the surface by means of colours". The artist also applies the typical practice of creating form by means of colour, or put differently, she pays equal attention to all the components of the painting. Seemingly, she is a typical postimpressionist. But not entirely. For at the some time she Iikes a strong, almost geometricai or sometimes in a literał tense a construction of the picture based on its geometricai division and very defined syntetic treatment of the form; she Iikes a smooth handling in which one catches, for a change, an echo of Cezanne's words, "I would like to tum impressionism into something as solid as the art of museums". The artist, then, Iikes distorted forms as well as colours often very different from the local colour.

In this very distortion of colours and, consequently, of light lies the secret of the suggestive style of Wiesława Stefańska's paintings: in fact, she is an expressionist and this is where the artist is slowly but consistently moving. She is, however, an expressionist of high culture, having a keen eye and good taste - not merely in an artistic sense. Her works, undoubtedly decorative in character and, as such, "drawing-room" paintings, originate from real life experience and they share that experience with the viewer.

That kind of experience is so enjoyable and nowadays so badly needed for it implies approval of the reality. Moreover, it expresses delight in the world and its beauty as well as perceiving the charm of life and of peaceful existence; it encourages contemplation and provides a source of recreation. Finally, it shows our normal surroundings in a different perspective. Thus, we find in this painting harmony or form and matter, and harmony can be achieved only by sensitive and talented artists.

Jerzy Madeyski

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