Okuń was born in 1872 to a noble family and was orphaned early. He grew up with his grandparents on the maternal side. After inheriting a large fortune, he soon began drawing lessons with great painters. In 1891 he studied at the Warsaw School of Drawing. From 1891-1893 he studied under the direction of Isidore Jablonski and Jan Matejko at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts. He continued his studies in Munich and Paris. In 1897 Okuń went to study with Simon Hollósy who founded the artists’ colony in Nagybánya, Hungary. For the next 20 years he lived in Rome and also traveled to Sorrento, Amalfi, Capri, Venice, Padua, Ravenna, Florence and Siena. He participated in the life of the Polish art colony in Rome, and was co-founder of the Masonic lodge “Polonia”.
Okuń returned to Poland in 1921 and settled in Warsaw. From 1925 he was a professor in the School of Fine Arts. He was a member of the Society of Polish Artists. Together with his friends founded a Masonic lodge called “Copernicus”. He was vice-president of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts. During the annual opening of the Salon Incentives he witnessed the assassination of the first president of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz, by Eligiusz Niewiadomski and with one of the president’s aides, caught Niewiadomski.
During World War II he lived in Warsaw. After the Warsaw Uprising Okuń moved to Skierniewice, where he was killed by stray bullet in January 1945.
For as famous a painter as Edward Okun appears to be, it has been remarkably hard to find much information about him or his work, so many of these pictures have no date or title. Perhaps if I spoke Polish I would have had more luck.
Since I did manage to accumulate quite a lot of representations of his work, I’ve decided to break it up into smaller groups with little ‘breaks’ in between them. I’m first presenting his general work, landscapes, still lifes, etc., then I will concentrate on his portraits of women- and oh, did he like his women. You will see.
The ‘breaks’ will be random stuff I’ve found that amuses me. Enjoy!