The realisation of the presentation funded
as part of the programme EU Interreg Lietuva-Polska
Countess Kaszowski’s Parlour
1915, pencil, watercolour, paper, 63,5 x 47 cm
Lithuenian National Museum in Vilnius
Stanisław Bohusz-Siestrzeńcewicz is considered to be an excellent drawer. He owes this opinion to his feather drawings with genre themes, depictions of suburban Vilnius fairs and presentations of rural and small town life. His satirical drawings are just as perfect. The artist had an observational skill and a sense of characterisation. Despite his satirical eye, he treated his models with empathy and warmth.
Countess Kaszowski’s Parlour shows a diverse Vilnius society, divided into smaller groups who are engrossed in conversation. All the artist’s attention is devoted to them with the place of the meeting being defined only with a few household items.
It is a group portrait of Countess Kaszowski’s guests. Each persona has individual qualities that make it possible to identify them. The hostess is probably the portly lady in a red dress who is talking to a sturdy military man. The author placed the couple in the central point of the composition.
The picture was created during war (there are three military men among guests). Vilnius was under German rule. The occupant was decreeing new and new laws limiting access to food. No wonder that the tables in the parlour are empty.
All the figures are brilliantly captured. There is a young lady in a hat with a long feather who is slim like a spider thread in the Indian summer. There is a tall bald man with a black moustache who is folding his arms across his chest and leaning over the interlocutors. Can he be identified as Lucjan Uziębło? And the slim man leaning over the table: is he Szymon Czarnocki – an actor and an author of the script who co-created the Ach! cabaret as Władysław Renard? Is there Siestrzeńcewicz’s friend Jan Bułhak among guests? And Michał Minkiewicz? Who is the slim and small young man standing solitary away from the crowds? And the orange individual in glasses over his nose who is sitting by the table? Is he Michał Brensztajn? Each of these figures characterised with such warmth disguise commonly known people.