Geist residents will have a unique opportunity next month to view the work of a world renowned artist with Indiana ties. WFYI and Masterpiece Gallery will present the paintings of Emil Polit, one of the most recognized names in Polish art, with an exhibit that opens on August 15 featuring Indiana, Poland, Amsterdam and Paris themes.
Although Poland is his home, Polit began spending summers in Indiana 15 years ago, visiting his sons, Peter, who lives in Geist, and Greg, who lives in Bloomington. “My visits here feel like home,” says Polit. “Indiana weather is similar to Europe and has a familiar and comfortable feel to it for me. I especially love Geist lake for its beauty and accessibility. I also enjoy Indiana autumns and always look forward to visiting with the grandchildren here,” he said.
Although Polit has strong Indiana ties, he was born in 1940 in the small village of Smyslowka, Poland. He later obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from Poland’s most prestigious school of art – the Krakow Fine Arts Academy, and he graduated from the department of painting and lithography in 1965.
Polit has forged an impressive career and has received some of the most prestigious awards while taking part in regional, national and international art exhibits. He has also attracted many prominent art collectors over the years. His paintings can be found in Poland, the U.S., the Vatican, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada .
Frequent travels help provide the artist with inspiration for his work. “I have been fortunate enough to visit some of my favorite places in the last two years, including Indiana, Paris and Amsterdam, coupled with quite a bit of travel inside Poland,” Polit says.
He adds that at next month’s exhibit, viewers can expect to see some of his newer landscape work, along with some experiments he has done in his allegorical paintings.
“There, I create a story within each painting — one that I hope speaks to many people,” Polit says. “I wish I could bring some of my larger works here like the frescos I recently finished at one of Poland’s cathedrals, but I hope that after seeing the exhibit, some people will want to check them out on the Web or even visit,” he adds.
When asked what area attractions draw his attention most, Polit says that he paints Geist Lake the most, as viewers will notice at the exhibit, as well as area countryside landscapes. “I grew up on a farm myself and just enjoy the open landscape,” he says, adding that his painting, Indiana Pumpkins, was created after he traveled just outside Indianapolis to pick apples and pumpkins before Thanksgiving last year. He adds, “I have also painted some favorites for collectors of my art in Indianapolis and have really enjoyed discovering some unusual landscapes here.”
When Polit is not exploring the world or spending time in his studio, his favorite thing to do is visit with his children and grandchildren here in the state. Polit explains, “Their presence inspires me to put them in many of my paintings as both literal and inspirational elements. My art has really changed with the arrival of grandchildren, and I have extended my visual storytelling to the next generation,” he says.
To attend Polit’s exhibit, visit Masterpiece Gallery starting August 15, located at 4647 E. 82nd Street, Indianapolis, 317-845-9990. Also, a preview of his work will be open in the Rose Room of the Village of West Clay community center on July 20, from 2-8 p.m.