Eric Karpeles | Josef Czapski: An Apprenticeship of Looking

This stunning monograph, a long-overdue critical appraisal of Polish artist Joézef Czapski arrives at a moment when the artist’s legacy is gaining new recognition. Within these pages, author Eric Karpeles conveys how making art was so enmeshed with Czapski’s way of seeing and being in the world that it was second nature. Given that he lived into his ninety-seventh year, it’s no surprise that the artist has works dating from every decade of the twentieth century but the first. As witness to the tumultuous events of that century, he found in painting “a refuge and a salvation.”

Prolific as a painter, he was equally disciplined in recording the events of his life in pencil, ink, and watercolor in his journals. At a time when abstract art tended to dominate aesthetic discourse, he preferred to observe the world around him, to portray people going about their daily business. Some of his most compelling works depict theatergoers and art lovers doing what they do best—looking.


Eric Karpeles is a painter as well as writer and translator. He is the author of Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Józef CzapskiPaintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time, and translated Josef Czapski’s Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp. He is a fellow of the Czeslaw Milosz Institute at Claremont McKenna College.











When: Thu., October 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Where: 192 Books
192 Tenth Ave.
212-255-4022
Price: Free
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This stunning monograph, a long-overdue critical appraisal of Polish artist Joézef Czapski arrives at a moment when the artist’s legacy is gaining new recognition. Within these pages, author Eric Karpeles conveys how making art was so enmeshed with Czapski’s way of seeing and being in the world that it was second nature. Given that he lived into his ninety-seventh year, it’s no surprise that the artist has works dating from every decade of the twentieth century but the first. As witness to the tumultuous events of that century, he found in painting “a refuge and a salvation.”

Prolific as a painter, he was equally disciplined in recording the events of his life in pencil, ink, and watercolor in his journals. At a time when abstract art tended to dominate aesthetic discourse, he preferred to observe the world around him, to portray people going about their daily business. Some of his most compelling works depict theatergoers and art lovers doing what they do best—looking.


Eric Karpeles is a painter as well as writer and translator. He is the author of Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Józef CzapskiPaintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time, and translated Josef Czapski’s Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp. He is a fellow of the Czeslaw Milosz Institute at Claremont McKenna College.

Buy tickets/get more info now