Nikifor

Background: son of deaf mother; he himself hard of hearing and with speech defect.

Education: none.

Profession/occupation: painter of souvenir pictures.

Art form/medium: drawing, painting.

Start artwork: during begging period.

Relevant info: illiterate; captions in his paintings often are illegible.

(Solo-) exhibitions: Nikifor in gallery Zachęta, Warsaw, 1967. Nikifor. Kunst op straat geboren, KFZ Koningin Fabiolazaal, Antwerp, 2007. In 1995 werd in Krynica het Nikifor Museum geopend.

References: catalogue Antwerp

Outsider Art Sourcebook, 2009, p. 124.

Drowniak, aka Nikifor, has difficulty expressing himself through language, so his art is his main means of expression. Nikifor made ends meet as a street painter, on the seamy side of life, in a spa town full of tourists to whom he sold his work. He carried his studio in a wooden box and drew and painted with coloured pencils and water-based paint on any paper he could find. He boldly signed his paintings ‘Nikifor Artist’, the name he had chosen for himself, and also added fake texts, which are in fact no more than a jumble of letters. He also framed his own work using coloured paper. Like Rousseau ‘Le Douanier’, Nikifor became known as a grand master of naïve art.

Nikifor
1895 Krynica, Poland - 1968 Krynica, Poland