Drawings, 1939-1970

For Zbigniew Dłubak, drawings were an auxiliary tool in photographic and painting practice. In the 1940s, they were his academy, as he was an autodidact draughtsman. In 1945, at the Mauthausen concentration camp, eight days before liberation, Dłubak, Marian Bogusz, and a Czech artist Zbyňek Sekal organized at one of the camp barracks, on a bunk bed put upright, a clandestine drawing exhibition. After the war, from the late 1940s on through the 1950s and 1960s, the drawings correspond to the successive painting series, constituting a record of composition and colour studies leading to the making of the final canvas piece. Dłubak treated each sheet of paper on a multiple-purpose basis, painting or sketching on both sides or producing several sketches on one side, which confirms their preliminary character. Seldom exhibited until today, the drawings offer an intriguing insight into the artist’s creative process.

Abstractions, 1960s

Among the sketches from the 1960s can be recognized preliminary sketches for the painting series "Ammonites" (1957-1963), "Anthropoliths" (1963-65) and "Movens" (1965-1973). The repetitiveness of the motifs and compositions attest to their preparatory, working-basis character, aimed at finding the right arrangement of lines and colours, which would later be transposed onto canvas. Some of the abstract sketches were made in pencil or pen and ink, others in watercolours or using a colour marker.
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Portraits and Female Nudes, 1950s

The series of pen-and-ink portraits dated 1954 coincided with the publication of the how-to book Portrait Photography. In the small volume, Dłubak explained the technical rudiments of portrait-making – from posing the model, through composition planning, down to the aperture and exposure parameters. At the same tine, he was studying the portrait representation in drawing. Among the works from the 1950s is a sketch for the oil painting "Portrait of an Old Woman" (1955), as well as portraits of Urszula Dłubak and Henryk Stażewski.
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Abstractions and Painting Sketches, ca. 1948

The surreal drawings, filled with abstract, geometric motifs, were made either around 1948 or around 1955. They show references to Dłubak’s photographic work of the era; particularly the series of abstractions and compositions illustrating Pablo Neruda’s The Magellan Heart (ca. 1948), as well as canvases from the War series: "Prisoner" (1956), "Dying Boughs" (1956), "Shadow of a Man" (1957).
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Drawing Studies, 1939-1943

From the late 1930s, Zbigniew Dłubak studied, on his own, various issues of the visual arts, drawing and painting in particular. He made sketches in pencil, charcoal and watercolour, practicing perspective and light-and-shadow. The themes were classic: landscape, still life, female nude. In the years 1939-1941, Dłubak created his drawings while working as technician for the clandestine "Strzały" periodical published by the Spartacus Union of Polish Youth. Following a hiatus in clandestine activity (summer 1941 – February 1942), Dłubak’s drawings are again made peripherally to his political work. In spring 1942, he joined the Polish Workers’ Party and his flat became the party’s central printshop, where he mimeographed "Trybuna Wolności" and "Trybuna Chłopska".
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