Teresa Pągowska “Red Stocking“, 1970, oil on canvas, 162 x 143 cm

The painting Red Stocking by Teresa Pągowska (1926 – 2007), was entered into the collection’s inventory under the number three. It is therefore one of the earliest works purchased with the funds of the Warsaw City Culture Department for Teatr Studio, whose new director Józef Szajna had started, at the turn of 1971–72, a project to collect and exhibit the most recent art. Initially the collection included work by Polish modernist artists and it was thought of as a museum.

New acquisitions, including Pągowska’s painting, were shown at the first exhibition organized at Teatr Studio, in a space which formed part of the theatre foyer and was later named “Galeria Studio.” “Exhibition of Modern Painters” opened in January 1972, and Teresa Pągowska was the only woman included. The other works were by Tadeusz Dominik, Stefan Gierowski, Jerzy Kałucki, Aleksander Kobzdej, Alfred Lenica, Zbigniew Makowski, Adam Marczyński, Henryk Stażewski, Jan Tarasin and Rajmund Ziemski.

Pągowska gained fame in the course of the 1960s, and in the 1970s she defined and mastered her own painting idiom. It is fully manifest in the Red Stocking. The fragmentarily depicted body suggests some kind of dynamically unfolding action, albeit understated. This might be a moment caught between dressing and undressing, a loving close-up, or it might merely be a stage of movement between one and gesture and another, while posing for the picture.

Dorota Jarecka

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