I’ve been spending a lot of time in the world of online auctions recently. Today I realised I had a newsletter to write, so I panicked and decided to combine the two. First point of call: Marek Zulawski art.
Marek Zulawski stuff on the Internet
Google has so many hidden corners, doesn’t it?
First Marek-related item I found via Google Shopping was an original poster for his 1957 exhibition in Warsaw’s Zachęta Gallery.
It’s on sale for $450. I have no idea why.
It’s not a particularly interesting design. It seems phoned in. If Marek designed it himself, he was probably just trying to get it out the way before doing something more interesting.
It’s not just exhibition posters, but old exhibition catalogues that are being bought and sold too.
Here’s a catalogue for an exhibition at Zwemmer Gallery in London in 1956, which was a fancy place that helped promote artists like Picasso and Dali in the Interwar period. I didn’t realise Marek had a show there, so that’s cool.
It’s £28 for a pamphlet though, which is almost the price of a pint in central London these days.
Here’s a 1962 catalogue for an exhibition at Drian Galleries. It was written by a young Jasia Reichardt, who became well-known later on as a curator. You can pick it up for $20. A bargain, probably.
Meanwhile I found an actual book, one called Polish Artists in Great Britain. It looks like Marek created the cover, as well as being featured in it.
It’s from 1944, so perhaps it was part of efforts to get the Brits used to all these foreigners comin’ over ‘ere thinkin’ they own the place. Maybe we’ll see a Ukrainian Artists in Great Britain book soon…
And here’s a novel that Marek did the cover art for. The author Martyn Goff was a good friend of Marek’s and was actually the best man at my parents’ wedding. He was not only an author but the brain behind the Booker Prize for many years. I highly recommend you read his Guardian obituary for some genuinely funny anecdotes about Booker Prize shenanigans:
All the time Goff was engineering press coverage, as one commentator put it, like “a happy wizard”, using “carefully placed leaks, official interviews, and, occasionally, strategic misinformation”.
Books by Marek himself though?
As for Marek’s own books, I could not help but laugh when I found this listing for Dawn Noon and Night, his limited edition book with prints in it.
I thought the image had been photoshopped – in reality, the book is very slim, but it looks huge here.
I suspect it’s just been opened to prop it up. Either way, they manipulated the book to look like War and Peace. Maybe to try justify the £125 price tag to the casual observer?
So much for the UK and US sites. I found a load of his books on the Polish site Allegro though, mostly his Polish autobiographies, but that was unsurprising.
In case you’re wondering about Etsy, I did try doing a search but it just kept showing me Mark Twain quotes 🤷♂️
But what about Marek’s actual art?
I found a cool mixed media piece on eBay from a seller in Hertfordshire.
The lady in it looks like ET, which is obviously very appealing to me.
I think its price around £1000 is probably about right. It may even be under-priced. New unknown artists sell work for much more a lot of the time. I’m not sure how people like to price themselves, although it’s worth remembering that galleries displaying art usually take 50% of the listed price.
Meanwhile here’s a still-life oil painting on sale on Allegro for 6500 PLN, which is similarly a bit over £1000. It looks like the seller didn’t have much faith in selling it though because they also listed it on the competing site OLX for a lower price.
Weirdly, I also found two cheap reproductions of the same flower painting, one that looks blue and another that looks yellow. Apparently these were communist-era wall decorations. It seems many people couldn’t afford actual paintings so they had reproductions framed instead. I wonder how many copies of these flowers of Marek’s ended up on people’s walls?
There are other places online where you can find proper Marek artworks, but generally these are connected to actual fancy galleries and auctions, and they seem a bit inaccessible to the general populace.
Marek gets his first shop
Having looked at all this randomness, the obvious conclusion comes to mind.
So the other day, in a flurry of misguided enthusiasm, I started an online store for Marek Zulawski artwork.
I could have started putting artwork on eBay, but that seemed a bit shoddy. That’s where we put the Russell Hobbs Slice & Go.
So I signed up to a platform called Big Cartel and started a small shop:
It has just 5 pieces for sale. And it will stay that way.
The artworks in the shop will change every 2 weeks so that it doesn’t just remain something all search engines will want to censor (Marek did create a LOT of nudes…). Plus that should also create a sense of “Limited Time Only! Act NOW!” which is always fun.
If you’re interested in Marek Zulawski’s artwork at all, do check it out.
p.s. In case you were wondering, “windowlicking” is a literal translation of the French term for window shopping, namely lèche-vitrine. Here is a video that will not make this much clearer.
p.p.s. This post was an edited version of an issue of the Translating Marek newsletter. I send it out every 2 weeks. Sign up here.