Before & After | November 2020

Aleksander Żyw was born in Lida, Poland in 1905 and trained at Warsaw School of Fine Arts in the early 1930s. He was living and working in Paris when the War broke out and he fought with the Polish Army in France before escaping to the UK where the Polish Army was reforming. He arrived in Scotland in 1940 and was appointed as an official war artist. He made Edinburgh his home until he moved permanently to Italy in the 1970s. During his time in Edinburgh he has a profound impact on the city with a number of notable exhibitions, including three with The Scottish Gallery, and later retrospectives organised by the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

This new focused exhibition, 25 years since the artist’s death, offers a snapshot of a pivotal moment in Żyw’s artistic career. The group of work, which date from the years 1934 – 1951 provide insight into a European painter who emerged from the devastation and suffering of war a radically altered artist, and with a body of work strengthened by the experiences he had encountered. To explore the exhibition please click here.

Please see below for a selection of films relating to the life and work of Aleksander Żyw.