Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bestiarium Wilkonia - The Big Cats

"First you have to know what you are going to paint: a man or a fish or a bird or a leaf or an animal, 
and what it looks like. Then you must know how it moves, runs, creeps, swims or flies. 
For many that would be the end of their art effort, but some go ahead and paint sadness and happiness,
 fear and courage. Only a few reach the point at which they can paint a smell and a taste of fruits or even,
 silence in the dream. If you can do all these things then you must know the way to bring a story
 and a picture together. Everything must be done at the right place and on the right time,
 so the tensions in the book rises as in the theatre." Józef Wilkon

Klatki, 2009

Mr Wilkon was born in Bydgoszcz in 1930, and studied painting at the Academy of Art in Krakow
 and art history at Jagiellonian University. After finishing his studies he spent a year in Paris,
 and in 1957 started working as illustrator and graphic designer for various Polish publishers.
 Since then, Wilkon has illustrated over 100 books for children and adults. In 1963 he started to 
be published abroad, and over 60 volumes have been published around the world, 14 of which also in Italian.
 Wilkon's artistic creations also include wonderful wood and metal animal sculptures and installations,
 and designs for tapestries and theatre sets. He has won many international awards, and held exhibitions
 and workshops for children across Europe. Of course, with all this, I was surprised to find
 very little about him in the English speaking web...

Cover and illustration from Tygrys o zlotum sercu, 1963,
thanks to the beautiful Ksiazki / Books blog

Illustration from Basnie Perksie

Illustration from Little Tom and Big cat, 1976

hmmm.... I am not sure where this one comes from

Two illustrations from the recently republished Ksiega Dzungli (Jungle book) by Rudyard Kipling

Illustration from Leopanther, A Love Story, 1997

I had to dig quite a bit to find these pictures, but I am glad I did. I really wanted to dedicate
a post to this extraordinary artist, and now I have enough material for at least five!


  1. Heavenly
    Laura have you seen the French Grafiti of Cheetahs in Paris?

  2. Thank you for this post, I am such a huge fan of his work!

  3. Uwielbiam prace p. Wilkonia. Szczegolnie rzeźby!



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