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Jan Tarasin in his studio. Photo: Wojciech Kryński/Forum
Jan Tarasin in his studio. Photo: Wojciech Kryński/Forum

Jan Tarasin (Poland 1926‑2009)

Lots to be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale: Modern & Contemporary 18-19 November 2020

Included in this sale are several important works by Jan Tarasin, all dating from 1968. They have never before been offered at auction and have remained within the same private Swedish collection ever since they were acquired.

The Polish painter, graphic designer, drawer, photographer and author Jan Tarasin was born on September 11, 1926 in Kalisz, Poland. He studied in Kraków at the Academy of Fine Arts and made his debut in 1948, at the first Exhibition of Modern Art in Kraków.

Although considered to be an abstract painter, Tarasin never fully resigned from figurative art. In his paintings from the 1950’s we see mostly still lives, composed from ordinary objects. In the later part of the decade, his paintings gained their own specific features and became more abstract. The artist arranged the elements, or objects, to become an imaginary, allusive space. His interest of objects appeared early on in his career. By simplifying and reducing them he formed a system, used to symbolise people or items in his paintings. They became only traces of shapes taken from the surrounding reality, presented as small dots, scratches or fields or colours. Jan Tarasin was interested in searching for mechanism, through which nature projects and complicates phenomena, concentrates and diffuses them. Also, he was interested in the relation between logic, determination, imperative laws and chance. His captivating paintings build arrangements out of objects and there is always a story behind them.

In the late 1960’s, Tarasin’s work changed and he began to include small objects immersed in hot lava in his paintings. These relief collage paintings only occupied him for a short time and he quickly returned to flat paintings. Jan Tarasin was once quoted: “I am interested in a certain type of objectiveness leading to the abstract.” His symbols appear in different shapes; ovals, arches, squares, crosses, circles, dots and lines, due to the artist’s belief that the world is a collection of diffusing and dynamic arrangements. In the 1970’s, he used mostly a white surface to create silhouettes or contours. This method of contrasting light and dark colours against each other can be seen also in Tarasin’s later work. Throughout his life, he continued to examine the meaning of symbols and signs, sometimes making them bigger and brighter only to return to the use of thick paint and a background overlapping the objects.

Over the years, Tarasin’s work have been exhibited at numerous important galleries and museums worldwide. His works are today held in some of the most prominent institutions and are highly sought after among collectors.

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Jeanna Ahlin


Modern & Contemporary Art
Phone: +46 (0)734-32 41 45

Sofie Bexhed

Head of Sales

Phone: +46 (0)705-22 61 62

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