Chodzinski, Casimir (1861 - 1919)

Sculptor. Born in 1861 in Lancut, Poland; graduated from the Art Academy in Krakow, Poland; student of the famous John Matejko; went to Vienna upon receiving a scholarship from the Austrian Government. Came to U.S., made his home in Buffalo, N. Y. 1903-1910. Sculptor of the Casimir Pulaski monument in Washington, D. C. and Thaddeus Kosciuszko monument in Chicago, Ill. Sculptured over hundred statues for St. Dominic Church in Krakow, Poland. Made many sculptures for the Cathedral Church in Warsaw, Poland, BresIau, Germany and Sandomierz, Poland; the religious group for city of Kalisz in Poland. His sculpture carved in wood depicting "Christ" is in the museum of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, Chicago, Ill. Died in 1919 in Lwow, Poland.

From: "Who's Who in Polish America" by Rev. Francis Bolek, Editor-in-Chief; Harbinger House, New York, 1943

Kazimierz Chodzinski was born in 1861 in Lancut [Poland]. His father was an artist, a painter, so young Kazimierz grew up in an artistic atmosphere where at age five he drew quite good portraits of his siblings. The lack of resources would not permit him to study art seriously. It was necessary to think about earning money to support oneself and for studies. During the summer he did commissions, for example "Forest Gods" for the Potocki palace, representations of the saints for churches, or portraits as drawings or sculpture. Through dedicated work he managed to attain recognition for his artistic work and earned resources to permit systematic study. He enrolled at the Krakow School of Fine Arts, under the direction of the genial [Jan] Matejko, where the professor of sculpture was the renowned Prof. Gadomski. Without fail, K. Chodzinski, who distinguished himself with extraordinary abilities as well as great industriousness, earned his first prize in an art competition. Then under the influence of an awakened creativity he prepared his first serious work "Egyptian Woman" for an exhibit of fine works of art; a piece which found a buyer. As a student with exceptional ability, which was apparent in his work, he received a government scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. There the young, barely twenty year old, student, devoted himself to work under Professor Hellmer, and as fruit of his labors received many prizes and awards, receiving a ministerial scholarship, the highest that was available to the students at the Academy. From that time Chodzinski entered many fine arts competitions receiving recognition and awards. He finished studies at the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1887. The art critics in Poland and abroad praised every work Chodzinski had produced.

After completing the studies in Vienna and visiting centers of art, Chodzinski returned to his beloved Krakow. Here, under the influence of Matejko and Luszczkiewicz, he opened a studio that produced works mainly for Polish churches and monumental buildings.

This studio, which gave employment to many people, under the direction of Kazimierz Chodzinski met the high standards and achieved high artistic qualities, rendering inestimable service to Polish art and was able to counter the flow of cheap pseudo-artistic products flowing into Poland from Germany. This studio, despite its excellent direction and many orders -- let us add the artist's good heartedness -- could not be profitable, being closed off by high duties from exporting its works to the [Polish] Kingdom. The artist then moved to Warsaw. From then on, Chodzinski's works spread across the area of the old [Polish] Commonwealth, but also reached foreign countries: Finland, Siberia, the Caucasus, Ruthenia and other places.

From among the many portraits, medallions, memorial plaques, and religious works, we here mention some of the earlier works that assured Chodzinski's fame and great respect in the world of art. Among these are: "Egyptian Woman," "Old Man," "Boy," "Dancing Faun," "Joyous Life," "Lord of the World," "Czesnik and Regent," "Boy's Head," "Girl's Head," "Readying for the Ball," "Praying Prisoner," and many others. Among his monumental works is the equestrian statue of Kosciuszko in Humboldt Park in Chicago.

Therefore, it was not strange, that the Pulaski Monument Committee would entrust Chodzinski with creating a monument to the Bar Confederate and great hero of the American War of Independence. The committee was guided by the thought that a Polish artist should create the statue of a great fellow countryman, a "man of a great and chivalrous heart," who was an example of the best in Polish bravery and knighthood.

The committee's confidence was fully justified by the artist. He created a work that was magnificent, a worthy decoration for the capital of a great nation. American press and art circles have expressed the greatest admiration for the Polish master's work.

From: Pamietnik Uroczystosci Polskich w Waszyngtonie, 1910
[Memorial Book of Polish Observances in Washington, 1910], p. 52-53