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SADOWSKA, Krystyna

Lublin, Poland, 1912
, 1994
Biography synopsis
Born in Poland, Krystyna Sadowska first trained in Warsaw at the Academy of Fine Arts, studying painting, tapestry, woodworking, printmaking and graphic art. In 1937 Sadowska was sent to Brazil by her government where she taught handcrafts to Polish immigrants, helping to establish a self-supporting community. She met Konrad Sadowski, also in Brazil assisting expatriates, when he was asked to deliver both the news of her mother’s death and that she had been awarded a gold medal by the French government for her tapestry work. They soon married, returning to Poland just before the war. They also lived in Hungary, France, Algiers and England during World War II, eventually returning to Parana, Brazil. Sadowska resumed her arts studies whenever she could, training at the Grande Chaumiere in France and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. Once in Brazil she and her husband established a pottery studio. They were invited to exhibit their work in Rio de Janeiro and then at the National Exhibition of Brazil where they connected with an official from the Canadian Embassy. This connection led to an invitation to immigrate to Canada, inspired in part by Sadowska’s tapestry entitled, “Dream of Canada.” They initially taught craft in Halifax, before converting an old house into a studio and home in Indian Harbour. Although successful in establishing themselves by teaching and running a roadside store, they longed for contact with a broader art community and eventually accepted invitations to teach at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. After Konrad’s death in 1960, Krystyna left the college and embarked on a career of her own, working in a multitude of media and earning critical acclaim internationally. She exhibited in numerous solo and group shows and received many large-scale commissions, including batiks for Winnipeg airport and a large-scale mural relief for Government of Ontario’s Queen’s Park Project.
Media used
Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, 1930 - 1934
Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, 1940
Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, 1945 - 1946 (under Nora Billington)
Ontario Society of Artists
File & Archive locations
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC

Writings about
"'Homage to the Legendary and Modern Woman': Krystyna Sadowska." Archives of Ontario 2009
"A Shiny Mermaid." [Reproduction] Globe and Mail (Toronto) 21 Dec. 1976: 5.
"Artwork in the Church [Reproduction]." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 9 Apr. 1966: 15.
"Eaton's Foyer Exhibits Novel Arts of Sadowskis." Toronto Daily Star 24 Nov. 1955.
"Handcrafts at Indian Harbour." Ottawa Evening Citizen 8 Aug. 1952.
"Immigrants Revive Ancient Pottery making." Montreal Daily Star 18 Sep. 1950.
"K. Sadowski Noted as Ceramic Artist." Toronto Telegram 11 Mar. 1960.
"Krystyna Sadowska [photographs]." Toronto Sculpture 2006
"Krystyna Sadowska." Polish Spirit Polish Canadian Women's Federation, 2009
"Local Artist is Winner." Aurora Banner (Ontario) 12 May 1955.
"New Canadian Artist Wins American Award." Ottawa Citizen 8 Nov. 1958.
"Potters, Painters and Weavers." Carrot River Observer (Saskatoon) 11 Apr. 1958.
"Rhythm of Exotic Plants." Polish Heritage in Canada 2010
"Sadowska Sculpture (Sherbourne)." Polish Heritage in Canada 2010
"Sadowski Exhibition is Exciting." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 9 Jan. 1960: 15.
"Sadowski Show Here." Windsor Star 3 Dec. 1960.
"Sculpture in Black Steel." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 17 Feb. 1966: W04.
"Success Story of a Polish Couple! Canada has Gained Two Craftsmen."" Kingston Whig Standard 23 Nov. 1953.
"They Wove a Dream Come True." Sunday Telegram (Toronto) 17 Mar. 1957.
? Arts/Canada 20 (1963).
The Sadowskis Craft Horizons 14.6 (Nov/Dec.1954): 12-18.
Aarons, Anita. "Across Canada Roundup, Part III." [Reproduction] Architecture Canada 45 (Jan. 1968): 19.
Ayre, Robert. "Ceramics in Canada." Studio International 154 (Dec. 1957): 168-175.
Bachynski, Fran. "Ontario Art Teachers Developing Pottery Ideas." Halifax Mail-Star 21 Jun. 1955.
Canada. Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Warsaw Embassy Collection. 2001.
Crawford, Gail. Studio Ceramics in Canada. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2005.
Fraser, Ted. Krystyna Sadowska: Sculptures, Drawings, Collages, Batiks, Paintings. Art Gallery of Windsor, 1977.
French, William. "A Single Name A Twin Genius." Mayfair Magazine 1954.
Gotlieb, Rachel. "Married to Pottery: A Life of Uncertainty." Crafting New Traditions: Canadian Innovators and Influences. Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 2008: 15-24.
Heller, Jules and Nancy. North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century. New York: Garland, 1995.
Heydenkorn, Benedykt. A Community in Transition: The Polish Group in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Polish Research Institute, 1985.
Jarecka, Louise Llewellyn. The Tapestries of Krystyna Sadowski Craft Horizons 11. 1 (Spring 1951).
Kritzwiser, kay. "Kollwitz' Compassionate View." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 31 Oct. 1964: 15.
Kritzwiser, Kay. "Religious Art Leaves the Calendar Saints Behind." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 16 Apr. 1966: 15.
Lewis, Joel. "Time and Line: A Brief History of Modern Tapestry." Fibre Quarterly Canada 5.3 (Fall 2009)
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
Marsh, James, ed. Canadian Encyclopedia Online. Historical Foundation, 2009
McKay, Ian. Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-century Nova Scotia. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994.
Mungall, Constance. "Welds Steel for Sculpture." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 30 Aug. 1963: 11.
Panton, L.A.C.. "The Sadowski's - Artists and Craftsmen." Canadian Art 11.3 (Spring 1954): 100-104.
Ruimy, Joel. "Lost: One 10-foot-tall Steel Work of Art." Toronto Star 10 Jul. 1998: 1.
Saltmarche, Ken. "Ceramics Exhibition." Windsor Daily Star 12 Dec. 1959.
Warkentin, John. Creating Memory: A Guide to Outdoor Public Sculpture in Toronto. Toronto: Becker Associates, City Institute at York University, 2010.
Wolodkowicz, Andrzej. Polish Contribution to Arts and Sciences in Canada. Montreal: 1969.

Writings by
Kopczynska-Sadowska, Krystyna. Thirteen Polish Legends. New Europe Publishing Company, 1944.

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