The story of Henryk Wladislaw Aleksander Filipowicz h. Prawdzic

Sculptor, Painter and Photographer

1842 - 1919

On the night of January 11, 1863, bells rang all over Poland. An uprising against Russian rule began, for the restoration of Poland's independence. The struggle was unequal, and the uprising was brutally suppressed. Students of the École des Beaux-Arts participated in the riots. The school was closed, and the students, like many Polish freedom fighters, were exiled to Western Siberia.

"In the early 60s of the XIX century, the Polish artist Henryk Filipowicz, a graduate of the Warsaw Art School, found himself in Kuznetsk. He taught children painting, literature, and Latin. At first, he taught at the first district school in Kuznetsk. This educational institution was opened in 1826, but dragged out a miserable existence. This school was sometimes opened and sometimes closed. Therefore, Filipowicz, like other Poles, was engaged in tutoring. Many wealthy people in Kuznetsk spared no expense so that their offspring could know Latin and French, play the piano and write poetry. Polish teachers were respected and paid good money. H. Filipowicz received more money for tutoring than from the sale of his paintings."

* The center of the Kuznetsk District, which was part of the Tomsk Governorate. (

In the consolidated list of participants in the uprising there is a short information from 1863-1864: Filipowicz Henryk Karlovich - husband, nobleman of the Warsaw province, administratively exiled to live, was in the Tomsk province in 1867 (68), left for the Kingdom of Poland. (GAOO f.3.op. 6, d.8960). The Manifesto of Emperor Alexander II of May 17, 1867 allowed the return to their homeland of Polish exiles, mainly nobles.

After returning from exile, he went to Paris to continue his studies. In 1872, the artist was invited to Lublin by Wanda Chicinska (c.1850-1938), who created an art studio to teach women photography, photographic chemistry, and retouching. H. Filipowicz was in charge of the art department and taught drawing. In the same studio, the retouching artist Izabella Mlinárska (born 1846) taught students new methods of coloring photographs. She soon married Henryk Filipowicz. In 1873, their son Cazimir (1873-1926) was born, whose godfather was the famous Polish photographer Jan Mieczkowski (1830-1898), the winner of many international exhibitions. In 1874, the artist and his family returned to Warsaw, where he discovered his own photography. Stefan and Izabella Filipovicz were born here.

A talented painter and sculptor, he was engaged in photography professionally. At the Warsaw Charitable Society, he introduced the theory of photography to lecturers. He believed that the camera was a tool in the hands of a person who had artistic talent to create works of art. He traveled a lot. In the Parisian magazine L'Illustration In 1877, even before the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, illustrations by our own correspondent Henryk Filipowicz were published. Two of them: "Events in the East. Mobilization of the Asiatic Army. Arrival of reservists in Tiflis." and "Tiflis. Distribution of tea in the park of the Government House to reservists on the border of Asia Minor." There was also "Portrait of the leader of the Kurds Jafar-Aga, killed by the Russians in Alexandropol" and "View of Trebizond." It is not known whether he visited Transcaucasia at that time and what prompted the artist to come to Tiflis again a couple of years later. In May 1880, he found himself in Tiflis, where Grigory Karaev, an official of the district quartermaster's office, and Antonina Filipowicz, the artist's mother, opened on Sunday, May 11, 1880, in the center of the city, "on Golovinsky Prospekt, in the house of K.Y. Zubalov, a photographic institution "Filipowicz and Co." (Caucasus, 1880, No.122) There were 9 more photographic establishments nearby: Eduard Westley, Olga and Eugenia Orlay de Karwa, Lev Dubelir, Moisei Levites, Pyotr Kolchin and Dmitry Ermakov, Vladimir Barkanov, Alexander Roinashvili. I wonder if he's been in touch with at least some of them?

At that time, many Poles lived in Tiflis, exiled to "warm Siberia", some of them, artisans and artisans, came in search of work from Warsaw. They went to the studio of an artist from Warsaw to be photographed. Mrs. Olga Feofanova was invited to the photographic institution for spectacular coloring of photographic portraits on convex glass by the method of photo-oleo-chromium. (Caucasus, 1880, No.295) The next newspaper advertisement refers to June 6, 1881, in which it is reported that "... In the Family Garden, there will be a festivity with live paintings, which will be staged by the artist H.Filipowicz." (Caucasus, 1881, No.123)

"On the initiative of Princes Varvara Georgievna Baratashvili, for the benefit of the poorest families of Tiflis, on Saturday, June 6, a festivity with live paintings was organized in the Family Garden. The selection of paintings, their staging and in general all the troubles were taken over by the artist Filipowicz free of charge. How big the gathering was has not yet been ascertained, but based on the amount of the public that was in the garden, it must have been good." (Caucasus, 1881, No.125)

Performances of live pictures were very popular and gathered a lot of spectators. There is a well-known reminiscence of public figure Mikhail Tumanishvili:

"That evening we experienced a real pleasure when we saw live pictures on the stage of the local theater, staged by a wonderful connoisseur of art, Prince Gagarin. In general, this event is rare, almost unseen in Tiflis, but the participation in it of such a person, who is a real artist in the full sense of the word, was enough to attract a lot of people.

March 20, 1849 M. Tumanishvili"

Mikhail Heltubneli. "From the Literary and Social Past". Tbilisi. 1938. p.116).

In 1848, Prince Grigory Grigoryevich Gagarin was seconded to the Viceroy of the Caucasian Prince. Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov "to be used in a scholarly and artistic purpose."

Another production of live paintings is associated with the name of the classic of Georgian literature and public figure Ilia Chavchavadze. He studied in St. Petersburg and often attended theatrical performances. In 1858, the outstanding performer of Shakespeare's characters, the American actor Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), toured Russia. St. Petersburg students admired the talent of the Negro actor. When Chavchavadze came to his homeland the following year, he staged live paintings from "King Lear" in the hall of the Tiflis gymnasium. The role of King Lear was played by the poet himself, representatives of princely families took part in the production. The performance was a great success. A photograph of the group of performers and their names have been preserved.

The Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy (1827-1906) came to Tiflis from Paris with his student Mary Etlinger (1857, St.Petersburg – 1934, Paris) to work on illustrations for the works of Mikhail Lermontov.

M. Zichy wrote to his brother Antal: "Princess (Varvara Georgievna) Baratova, who, in spite of her advanced age, has a remarkable beauty, asked me to stage live paintings from the ancient Georgian unique work "The Knight in the Tiger's Skin" for charitable purposes.

On February 6, 1882, in Tiflis, Mihaly Zichy staged live paintings from "The Knight in the Tiger's Skin" by Shota Rustaveli. More than 100 extras in costumes against the background of painted scenery participated. Local artists Henryk Filipowicz, Felix Khodorowicz, Pyotr Kolchin and theatrical decorator Justich were called in to help. The production of 10 scenes was announced, for which the scenery and costumes were prepared according to the sketches of Zichy himself. Prominent representatives of Georgian society were invited to participate in the performance. Ticket prices were expensive. Spectators were admitted to dress rehearsals for 1 ruble. The long-awaited evening of the film show came. "The curtain rose and the crowning of Tinatina was presented to the spectators, like a scene from a thousand and one nights... For a few seconds the audience admired this picture, the curtain fell and rose again twice to give pleasure to the audience a few more seconds... In the second scene, the little pages were carrying fruits and drinks in silver dishes... It was twelve o'clock at night when the pictures were finished. The shouts of "Bravo Zichy" resounded throughout the theater for a long time, and the artist thanked the audience several times for the sympathetic reception. Paying tribute to his collaborators, he introduced the artists to the public: Filipowicz, Khodorovwicz, Kolchin, and later the decorator Justich. (Caucasus, 1882, No.34) Reviewers noted the poor lighting of the performance in the theater, which made it impossible for photographers to capture the event. It is possible that in the legacy of H. Filipowicz in Poland one can find a trace of his cooperation with M. Zichi.

In the summer months, H. Filipowicz traveled, photographed views and representatives of the peoples of Transcaucasia. He compiled thematic albums. "Views and Types of the Caucasus: Georgian Military Road, Tiflis, Abastumani, etc. The views were photographed personally this summer by the artist H. Filipowicz and we can vouch that this newest and quite artistic collection will attract the attention of connoisseurs and amateurs." (Caucasus, 1882, No.234)

PHOTO BY FILIPOWIC Z & Co. A new collection of species and types in large and cabinet formats. Albums: Poti-Tiflis railway, Batumi branch railway, Borjomi, Abastumani, Georgian Military Road, Tiflis. A huge archive of portrait negatives from previous years. All negatives are saved. Shooting port. and maps. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shooting children is instantaneous. The artist H. Filipowicz poses and shoots personally. (Caucasus, 1883, ? 229). In order to attract clients, newspaper advertisements always emphasized that the shooting was carried out personally by the artist H. Filipowicz. The following announcements concern the artist's wife, Izabella Filipowicz.

"PHOTO "FILIPOWICZ & Co"." For the second year in a row, he has been working in an instantaneous way, which other local photographers have only now discovered during their trips to St. Petersburg, and - in addition to ordinary portraits, the merits of which he considers superfluous to recommend to his respectable clients - he paints heliominiatures in oil paints, samples of which are at the exhibition." (Caucasus, 1884, ? 267)

The heliominiatures deserved the recognition of the Tiflis society.

"The other day we had the opportunity to see a collection of so-called h e l i o m i n i a t u r e exhibited in H. Filipowiczs photography studio. It was very difficult to reproduce the natural complexion and the power of expression by the methods known until now. Water-coloured photographs usually have the lifeless colouring of a dead body and some brick shades that unpleasantly hurt the eyes. In Ms.Filipowicz's heliominiatures, spectacular lighting is combined with pleasant and delicate coloring, thanks to the fact that the artist uses oil paints instead of watercolors." (Caucasus, 1884, No.271)

In addition to Isabella Filipowicz, who is engaged in retouching and coloring portraits, the name of a photographer working for Filipowicz & Co. is known. It was a nobleman Stanislav Aleksandrovich Pyatkevich, from a family of exiled Polish settlers, whose name is found in the archival documents of Astrakhan, Tiflis and Tomsk. "On June 1,1882, a 28-year-old Pole discovered a new photograph in Astrakhan on the ditch, next to the photograph of Mr. Klimashevsky." (Astrakhan Leaflet, June 22, 1882).

Prior to this event, in 1881, in Astrakhan, he was married in the Roman Catholic Church with a seventeen years old girl Suzanna Nagulevich,. ( Astrakhan photographers of 1880-1890)

In 1884 he moved to Tiflis and applied for permission to open a photographic establishment.

To His Excellency
To the Governor of Tiflis
Nobleman Stanislav Aleksandrovich Pyatkevich

Presenting here with the certificate given to me by the Governor of Astrakhan, on the basis of which I kept a photographic establishment in the city of Astrakhan. Astrakhan, and now wishing to open a similar institution in various districts of the Tiflis province, such as in the Dusheti, Gori, Surami districts, Borjomi and Abastumani, I have the honor to ask Your Excellency to grant me a certificate for the right to open a photographic institution in the above-mentioned districts and sections of the Tiflis province.

Stanislav Pyatkevich

April 4, 1885 (Funds 17, Inventory No.3, File 2142.)

On May 11, 1885, a permit certificate was obtained. However, S. Pyatkevich is not on the list of owners of photographic establishments in Tiflis in 1885. Later it was established that in 1889 S. Pyatkevich worked in Tomsk in "Warsaw Photography" by Julian Yerzhinsky. After the death of the owner of the photograph in 1896, S. Pyatkevich received the right to maintain the same photograph. He was the first in Tomsk to publish thematic albums: "Views of the city of Tomsk", "Views of Tomsk University", etc. ( " Poles in Tomsk. (XIX - XX centuries). Biographies. 2012. p.439)"

In March 1885, H. Filipowicz offered the Tiflis society his original version of shooting portraits in the form of antique busts and statues.

F O T O S C U L P T U R A .
Photographic portraits taken from living persons in the form of
m a r b l e b u s t s and s t a t u e s
original invention of the artist H. FILIPOWICZ.
You can see and take pictures in the photo "FILIPOWICZ & Co".

(Caucasus, 1885, No.65)

H. Filipowicz willingly took part in the events of the cultural life of the Tiflis society. In September 1887, with the permission of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III, the fiftieth anniversary of Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky's artistic activity was celebrated. On the day of the anniversary, a bronze medal was issued. The venerable artist received congratulatory addresses from the editorial board of the Tiflis newspaper "Mshak" and its editor Grigory Artsruni, from the Baku Armenian Society. In Tiflis, the anniversary was celebrated quite lively, a small exhibition was arranged. "Up to 10 works of the artist were hung, and a huge portrait of I.K. Aivazovsky, the work of local photographer H. Filipowicz, hung above the paintings. The portrait was decorated with greenery and flowers. " (Caucasus, 1887, No.277)

On March 6, 1888, the photographer's last announcement appeared in the newspaper "Caucasus" (1888, No.51): "For amateurs. In one month, they teach photography (shooting, posing, retouching and printing). The fee for the full course is 100 rubles. Filipowicz Photography establishment.

The historian of Polish photography Malgorzata Karwicka writes that in 1888 the photographer, painter and sculptor H. Filipowicz brought to Warsaw from Tiflis an exhibition of his photographic works, many of which were made using the technique of "photo sculpture". The well-known Polish art historian Wojciech Sztaba in the appendix to his article "From the Laboratory of the Portrait Company: Portrait on the Bookshelf" cites an excerpt from an article by A. Malinowski from the magazine "Klosy" (1888, October, No.1215) "Photo sculptures, photographs of H. Filipowicz": "Tiflis beauties in photographic sculptures of H. Filipowicz (mixed types)": ... Three years ago, H. Filipowicz, who had not only an artist's studio, but also a photo studio in Tiflis, began to make photographic portraits according to his own original idea, unknown to other photographers, which he first embodied two years ago in one of the photo studios in St. Petersburg. The busts were taken as a photograph, and it is not clear from the description what the technique of Filipowicz's invention was based on."

In 1888, the artist received a high award for his photographic services rendered to the Shah's court. "On the 15th day of November of this year, the Tiflis resident, artist-photographer Filipowicz is allowed to accept and wear the Order of the Lion and the Sun of the 3rd degree granted to him by His Majesty the Shah of Persia." (Caucasus,1888, No.331)

"Caucasian Exhibition of 1889 On June 4, in the hall of the Tiflis provincial government, under the chairmanship of the governor of the province, vice-governor A.I. Tchaikovsky (brother of the composer P.I. Tchaikovsky), a meeting of Tiflis manufacturers and breeders was held on their participation in the Caucasian exhibition. Photography. H. Filipowicz expressed his readiness to submit to the exhibition a complete album of his works on photography." (Caucasus,1889, No.147) It is not known whether he fulfilled his intention, but it is known that he went to Baku, where a branch of his Warsaw atelier - "Photo-Lux" - was located on Vorontsovskaya Street. Here he became close to the famous photographer A. Mishon (1858-1921), a public figure, journalist and publisher of the "Yearbook of the City of Baku" from 1894, who came to Baku from the city of Slavyansk, Kharkov province in 1884 to 1907, as well as the illustrated magazine "Caucasus and Central Asia in Photographs and Descriptions", in which he published his photographs and travel essays. He was the initiator of the Baku Circle of Photography Lovers. The creator of a significant collection of types and views of Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Persia, he took part in photographic exhibitions and received many awards, was a member of the Paris National Academy of Photography. From September 15 to October 31, 1889, the Caucasian Exhibition of Agricultural and Industrial Items was held in Tiflis. The supporter of the exhibition was Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, the former governor of the Caucasus. One of the best decorations of the exhibition was a special pavilion of Baku oil producers. A. Mishon travels to Tiflis to conduct filming on the territory of the Baku pavilion. He informs his regular customers that a photographer from Warsaw will work in the atelier during his absence. ( Such a photographer in Baku at that time was H. Filipowicz. For his work at the Caucasian Exhibition, A. Michon received a valuable gift from the Grand Duchess. The expert commission of the exhibition, headed by Baron A.I. Nikolay, awarded gold medals to the companies engaged in oil production in Baku, the Nobel brothers, the Siemens brothers, the Caspian Partnership, etc., for "excellent quality of oil and the correct organization of the factory business."

The collaboration between the two remarkable photographers continued. They created a joint album "Caucasian Souvenir", which includes 31 albumen prints, 20 by Filipowicz and 11 by Michon. Filipovich's photographs depict views of Tiflis, street scenes, a monument to M. Vorontsov, views of the Kura River. Michon's photographs show views of Baku and the oil fields. The size of the album is 320x420 mm, the size of the photos is 235x310 mm. ( - photographs...)

A.M. Michon often visited Tiflis. "On Sunday, May 17, in one of the Vera gardens, members of the Tiflis Society of Amateur Photographers organized a May Day celebration, the program of which included testing a recently received device of the latest design. After the shooting of some species and groups, lunch followed. In the evening, the report of the secretary of the Baku Photographic Society A.M. Mishon on the historical course of the society's development was listened to in the premises of the society. (Caucasus, 1895, No.132)

In 1898, A. Mishon mastered the profession of a cinematographer, shot several documentaries: “Fire of oil fountain on Bibi-Heybat” – 35 sec., “Oil gusher in Balakhani” – 35 sec., “Arrival of the train at the railway station”, “Bazarnaya street at dawn”… Subsequently, he was recognized as the founder of Azerbaijani cinematography. In 1908 he returned with his family to Slavyansk (Kharkov province).

Chancellery of the Tiflis Governor June 19, 1890. " Mr. Tiflis Police Master. In 1887, the provincial authorities issued a certificate No. 2274 to the nobleman Henryk Filipowicz, for the right to maintain a photographic institution in Tbilisi. Now, as can be seen from the petition of the wife of the named person, the said certificate has been lost, such a circumstance gives rise to a petition for the issuance of a copy of the said document. From the information available in the Chancellery, it can be seen that the above-mentioned Filipowicz, when leaving Tiflis, did not inform the provincial authorities about this and did not indicate to the latter the person to whom he was obliged to transfer his authority to conduct the photographic business. In view of this, and by order of the Governor of the Province, the Chancellery has the honour to request Your Highness to inform Mrs. Filipowicz that her petition is not to be granted, and that the establishment is to be closed until she herself obtains a certificate for its maintenance, under her responsibility.

Governor of the Chancellery A. Kudryavtsev

For his assistant N. Karakhanov." (Fund 17, op.1, d 2830, p.513.)

The artist's long journey has come to an end. On March 11, 1892, Filipowicz left Transcaucasia for good and went to Warsaw. (Fund 26. Tiflis Provincial Government, op.3, d.3249). Izabella Filipowicz remained in Tiflis. The circumstances of her later life are not easy.

"On the basis of Article 1030 of the Statute of Civil Proceedings, the bailiff of the 3rd Peace Department of the city of Tiflis, Gaibov, declares that on July 30, 1892, at 10 o'clock in the morning, a public sale of the property of Isabella Filipowicz, consisting of various household items and photographic items, will be carried out, valued at 140 rubles. Vorontsov." (Caucasus.1892. ?194)

From the report of the Tiflis police chief to the Governor of Tiflis dated September 17, 1897, it becomes known that Mrs. Filipowicz took permission to keep the photograph on Palace Street in the house of the Georgian nobility, but did not open the establishment. (Fund 17, op.1.d.2830)

Information about the stay of Mrs. Izabella Filipowicz in Tiflis in Fund ?17 of the National Archive is no longer found. (Fund 17, op.1, d.2830, p. 513)

Giorgi Gersamia

The Georgian Museum of Photography

January, 2024.

Henrik Filipovich's photographic stamp

Street Fruit Vendors

Kokhta Aphazi with her father

Woman in polish costume

Boat trip

Reverse of Filipowicz's photograph

Jules Mourier. Le Caucase Illustre. N2, 1889

Copyright © 2001-2024.   The Georgian Association for the History of Photography in the Caucasus