Krystyna and Konrad Sadowski
Curated by: Sandra Alfoldy, Associate Curator, Fine Crafts
Between 1949 and 1952 Nova Scotia’s craft scene enjoyed an infusion of European Modernist art sensibilities via Krystyna Sadowska (1912-1994) and her husband Konrad Sadowski (1902-1960) who moved to Halifax to teach at the Provincially-funded Handcraft Centre. The Sadowskis settled in Indian Harbour where they converted an old house into a studio and home, teaching and running a successful roadside pottery business. It was a circuitous route that led the Sadowskis to Nova Scotia.
Born in Lublin, Poland in 1912, Krystyna trained at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (1930-34) where she studied painting, tapestry, woodworking, printmaking and graphic art, before being sent to Brazil in 1937 by the Polish Government to teach “handcrafts to Polish immigrants.” Konrad Sadowski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1902, and was also educated at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Brazil to train expatriate Polish citizens in art. They met when Konrad was asked to deliver Krystyna the news that her tapestry had won the gold medal at the 1937 World Exhibition of Tapestry in Paris. Legend has it that an exhibition of Krystyna Sadowska’s tapestry Dream of Canada in Brazil led an official from the Canadian Embassy to invite the Sadowskis to immigrate to the country, “’as a potter and a weaver artist team, to leave our work in Brazil and come to this country to work in the development of and appreciation for handcrafts in Canada.’” Before they could do this the upheaval of World War Two found the Sadowskis living in Hungary, France, Algiers and England, where they studied with the renowned ceramist Dora Billington at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London from 1945-46.