his Polish ancestry influenced Dr. Eugene L. Slotkowski’s passionate interest in Polish culture, art and history, especially as it intersected with Polish-Jewish relations; highlights of the collection both demonstrate the extraordinary variety and depth found in the nineteenth-century Polish art genre, and attest to Dr. Slotkowski's keen connoisseurship and his enduring appreciation of his heritage. At the time of his death in 1902, Henryk Siemiradzki was one of the most important Polish painters on the 19th century. His composition, The Sword Dance features the hallmarks of his very best work: dynamic gestures, gem-like palette, and subtle juxtaposition of warm sun and cool shadows. According to current scholarship, Siemiradzki created several versions of The Sword Dance. Artists frequently copied a master version in response to market demand, a practice that was not uncommon during a rapidly expanding economy and demand for art in the 1870s and 1880s.
The present version of The Sword Dance ($300/500,000) was purchased by Francis O. Matthiessen, a wealthy American proprietor of sugar refineries, following its completion. Dr. Slotkowski acquired the work from a private collector in 1968. Also among the works featured from the Slotkowski collection is Alfred von Wierusz-Kowalski’s painting The Race (est. $150/200,000), which depicts the Polish countryside in varying shades of green and gold, suggesting the verdant fields of spring and summer (separate release available).