Magdalena Abakanowicz  (Polish, 1930) 

Magdalena Abakanowicz (Polish, b.1930) is best known for her textile sculptures of biomorphic forms. At the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts she studied drawing and painting in the Socialist Realist style, as well as textile design, screen printing, and fiber design. Her early work includes a series of gouaches and watercolors on linen sheets, which depict imaginary plants and animals. After she graduated, the Polish government was less strict about the form and content of art, and artists were allowed to travel to Western cities. Abakanowicz was particularly influenced by the geometric structures of Constructivist art. Her series Abakans, begun in 1967, are giant sculptures, woven from a variety of fibers, that hang a few inches off the ground. During the 1970s and 1980, Abakanowicz made several series of anthropomorphic textile sculptures. Backs (1976–1980) was a series of 80 versions of the human trunk made from burlap and resin, and Embryology (1978–1980) consisted of approximately 800 round forms of various sizes, made from burlap, gauze, and hemp. These organic sculptures examine the role of individual creativity within the crowd. In the late 1980s and 1990s, Abakanowicz produced sculptures in bronze, wood, stone, and clay, including her Bronze Crowd (1990) and Puellae (1992) series. For the War Games series, begun in 1987, Abakanowicz stripped off the bark of trees that were abandoned by foresters near Warsaw, and remodeled each trunk with metal parts. This series represents her life-long interest in nature, dismemberment, and regeneration. Abakanowicz has received numerous awards, including the Grand Prix of the São Paulo Biennale (1965), and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center in New York (2005). Her work has been exhibited at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Marlborough Gallery in New York, among other institutions. Her work is held in several public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She lives and works in Warsaw.

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Magdalena Abakanowicz, Iron Cast - Walking


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Iron Cast - Walking

Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe
Magdalena Abakanowicz, From the Anatomy Cycle: Anatomy 21


Magdalena Abakanowicz
From the Anatomy Cycle: Anatomy 21

Marlborough Gallery
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Winged Brother


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Winged Brother

Marlborough Gallery
Magdalena Abakanowicz, The Son of Gigant


Magdalena Abakanowicz
The Son of Gigant

Marlborough Gallery
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ten Seated Figures


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Ten Seated Figures

Galerie Scheffel
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ten Seated Figures


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Ten Seated Figures

Galerie Scheffel
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Plaster Body 3


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Plaster Body 3

Marlborough Gallery
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anonim 1


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Anonim 1

Marlborough Gallery
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anatomy 14


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Anatomy 14

Galerie Scheffel
Past auction results (158)  View All
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ikar


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Ikar, 1999
burlap, resin


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Magdalena Abakanowicz, Zestaw trzech jaj wielkanocnych (set of 3)


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Zestaw trzech jaj wielkanocnych (set of 3), 2006
acrylic on ostrich egg shells


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Magdalena Abakanowicz, Fists


Magdalena Abakanowicz
Fists, 1992
cast bronze


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1930   Born in Falenty, Poland
1950 - 1954   Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland
1965   Grand Prix of São Paolo Biennale, São Paolo, Brazil
1979   Gottfried bon Herder Prize, Vienna, Austria
1982   Alfred Jurzykowski Prize, New York, NY
1993   Award for Distinction in Sculpture, Sculpture Center, New York, NY
1997   Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts, Mexico
1998   Commander Cross, Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta
1999   Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, France
2000   Visionaries Award, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
2000   Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, Pratt Institute, New York, NY
2004   Awarded the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
2005   Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by the International Sculpture Center, New York, NY
2005   Award granted by the Polish Ministry of Culture
2009   Kulturzentrum Englische Kirche, Bad Homburg, Germany
2009   Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg, Germany (solo)
2008   Magdalena Abakanowicz, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2007   Magdalena Abakanowicz, Taguchi Fine Art, Ltd. Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2007   Magdalena Abakanowicz: Sculptures et Dessins, Marlborough Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Monaco (solo)
2007   Wit and Whimsy, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY
2007   Wack ! Art and the Feminist Revolution, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
2006   Sculpture, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY
2005   Salamanca ciudad de la escultura, Salamanca, Spain
2005   Space to Experience: The Sculpture of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL (solo)
2005   La Foule V, Galerie Saint-Séverin, Paris, France (solo)
2005   Works on Paper, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2004 - 2005   Magdalena Abakanowicz: Backward Seated Figures, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York, NY (solo)
2004   Mutation and Crystallization, Pei Ling Chan Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (solo)
2004   Monocromos de Malevich al presente. Museo Nacioal Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
2003   Skin: Contemporary Views of the Body, Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Jacksonville, FL
2003   Dancing Figures, Marlborough Fine Art, London, England (solo)
2002   Museum Narodowe, Poznan, Poland (solo)
2002   La Parade des Animaux, Festival International de Sculpture de Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo, Monaco
2001   In Between - Art from Poland, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
2001   Space to Experience, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA (solo)
2000   Working Process, Guiliano Gori Collection, Spazi d’Arte, Santomato di Pistoia, Italy (solo)
2000   L’Homme qui Marche, Les Jardins du Palais Royale, Paris, France
1999   To the Rescue, Eight Artists in an Archive, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York, NY
1999   Abakanowicz on the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
1998   Starmach Gallery, Kraków, Poland (solo)
1997   Summer 1997 Exhibition, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
1996   Les Champs de la Sculpture, Paris, France
1996   Oeuvres récentes, Galerie Marwan Hoss, Paris, France (solo)
1995   Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy After Auschwitz, Royal Festival Hall, London, England
1995   Els Jardins de Can Altamira, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
1994   Galeria Kordegarda, Warsaw, Poland; traveled to Muzeum Sztuki, Lódz, Poland (solo)
1994   Europa, Europa, Kunsthalle, Bonn, Germany
1993   The Fujisankei Biennale, International Exhibition for Contemporary Sculpture, Japan
1993   Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych, Krakow, Poland (solo)
1992   …Reperti…Environment through the Eyes of 18 of the Worlds Major Artists, Museo Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1991   Retrospective exhibition, Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1988   Olympiad of Art, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seoul, South Korea
  The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
  Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
  Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
  Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO