A compelling biography of the Polish painter and writer Józef Czapski that takes readers to Paris in the Roaring Twenties, to the front lines during WWII, and into the late 20th-century art world.
Józef Czapski (1896–1993) lived many lives during his ninety-six years. He was a student in Saint Petersburg during the Russian Revolution and a painter in Paris in the roaring twenties. As a Polish reserve officer fighting against the invading Nazis in the opening weeks of the Second World War, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets. For reasons unknown to this day, he was one of the very few excluded from Stalin’s sanctioned massacres of Polish officers. He never returned to Poland after the war, but worked tirelessly in Paris to keep alive awareness of the plight of his homeland, overrun by totalitarian powers. Czapski was a towering public figure, but painting gave meaning to his life. Eric Karpeles, also a painter, reveals Czapski’s full complexity, pulling together all the threads of this remarkable life.