Olga Boznańska

Biographical information

Full nameOlga Helena Karolina•de Boznańska
Used nameOlga•Boznańska
Born15 April 1870 in Kraków (Cracow), Małopolskie (POL)
Died26 October 1940 in Paris Ve, Paris (FRA)
NOC Poland


Olga Boznańska received her first drawing lessons from her mother, the Frenchwoman Eugenia Mondan (1832-1892). From 1884-86 she attended the Secondary School for Women. She then studied with private teachers in Munich and had her own studio there since 1889. However, she also maintained close contact with Polish painters. In the next few years, she spent time in Krakow, Berlin, Wien, and several times in France.

In 1896, Boznańska took up a teaching position at the private school of the painter Theodor Hummel (1864-1939) in München but turned down a professorship offered to her at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. From 1898, she lived in Paris. There she taught briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, the Académie Colarossi, and the Académie Vitti, and from 1909 in her studio.

Boznańska was president of the Society of Polish Artists “Sztuka” and the Kraków Association of Polish Women Artists. From 1904 she was a member of the Société National des Beaux-Arts in Paris and from 1906 of the International Society of Sculptors, Engravers, and Painters. She was also active in the associations of Polish artists in Paris and participated several times in exhibitions of women artists. In 1912, Boznańska became a Knight of the Legion of Honor, and in 1938 she received the Order of Polonia Restituta in her homeland. The last years of her life were overshadowed by the suicide of her stepsister Izabela and financial problems.

Boznańska painted almost exclusively in oils, initially on canvas, and from about 1893 mostly on cardboard. She painted mainly portraits of fellow artists, writers, and clients from Europe and America; also self-portraits, still lifes, interiors, and landscapes, usually designed as views from the window. She was considered the most important Polish painter of her time.

In Boznańska’s style of painting, there were clear differences from Impressionism. For example, she often used local colors and black, which were rejected by the Impressionists. While the Impressionists left their studios and studied the influence of sunlight on color, she rarely painted outdoors. With her models, she focused on the psychological portrait, not an ephemeral moment. By 1900 she already had developed her own style, which can be attributed to the school of Post-Impressionism.


Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Phase Unit Role As
1924 Summer Olympics Art Competitions POL Olga Boznańska
Painting, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge