In spite of the great education, amazing talent and, as an effect, deserved career on international exhibitions of art around the globe, life of Boznanska seemed to be for herself a series of personal tragedies and loses. Most painful was surely lack of popularity and understanding for her art in Poland.
She was born in Cracow as a daughter of an engineer and a assimilated French teacher.
Her parents put a lot of pressure on the education of Olga and her sister Izabella, as far in subjects of their talents, as in the general directions. Thanks that Boznanska was speaking fluent in several foreign languages.
Because of her gender, Boznanska couldn't study on any of the contemporary academies of art in Europe, so her education in arts was limited to private lessons, firstly in Poland, in workshops of Kazimierz Pochwalski and Adrian Baraniecki and since 1896 in Munich, Germany, at Karol Krichendorf's and Wilhelm Durr's. In Munich Boznanska rented her first own workshop and received first orders for her paintings. The most artistically improving influence on her work was surely the possibility to study pictures by the best artists of her times presented on yearly art exhibitions in Munich. In 1898 she moved to Paris, where she stayed until the end of her days.
|House on Pilsudskiego street, where Olga Boznanska used to live in Cracow.|
Paris period was the most triumphal part of her career. Painter's pictures had been prized on several international exhibits around the world, in 1904 she was approved as a member of Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In 1910 she honored by receiving the French Honor League.
In contrast to her international fame her art never had a larger group of enthusiasts in Poland, what Boznanska, very emotionally bonded with the native country, considered as her personal lost and fault. Mentioned awards were supported with large number of orders from the governments of many countries, monarchies and the private collectors. Nevertheless, in the thirties of 20'th century, popularity of Boznanska's art had started slowly to decrease. It was so dramatic, that in the year of 1934 in Poland was founded the honor committee of "Care of Boznanska", mend to support artist by state orders for her works and help in her unfortunate material situation.
Last big award for the painter was the Grand Prix on the Expo in Paris in 1937 in the category of painting.
Boznanska's health was getting worse due to the tragedies she had to face - her father's death, the broken off engagement, deep mental dysfunction of her beloved sister ended by her suicide. Important and painful hit for the artist's condition was also the invasion of Nazi Germany on Poland and its fall.
Her horrible financial condition was caused also by too kind heart which was telling her to support anybody who asked her for help, never expecting the payback, surely abused by many who never needed help.
She passed away forgotten on 26'th of October 1940 in Paris, in poverty.
Olga Boznanska's works are shuffled in many collections all around the globe, mainly private, large number of her works is owned by the biggest museums in Poland, especially those in Cracow and Warsaw.