Tadeusz Kantor

  • Born 1915 in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, Austria-Hungary
  • Died 1990 in Kraków, Poland
Tadeusz Kantor is best known for his achievements as a theater director and for his groundbreaking plays for Teatr Cricot 2, but he also worked as a stage director, painter, set designer, actor, writer, art theoretician, and teacher at the Akademia Sztuk Pięknych (Academy of Fine Arts) in Kraków. While studying painting therefrom 1934 to 1939, Kantor staged his first plays. During World War II he remained committed to theater and founded his own Teatr niepodległości (Theatre of Independence) in 1942. After the war he co-founded the Group of Young Artists, helped to mount the first exhibition of modern art at Kraków’s Art Palace in 1948, and began working as a stage designer at the Stary Teatr (Old Theatre) in Kraków. Kantor became a leading figure in the postwar modern art scene in Poland, seizing Western artistic developments, including art informel, conceptualism, and happenings. From 1948 onward he painted distorted figures and forms in a post-Cubist style. In 1955, after visiting Paris, he executed more abstract and improvisatory works. He later began to create his “emballages”—compositions of discarded objects, such as umbrellas, bags, and envelopes