Kali (painter)

Kali (Hanna Weynerowska, born Hanna Gordziałkowska; (December 18, 1918 – June 20, 1998) was a Polish-born American painter known for her stylized portraits. She has been described as one of the most important Polish female painters.[1] She was a World War II veteran of the Polish Resistance Movement after Nazi Germany occupied Poland, when she used the nom de guerre Kali. After emigrating and marrying, she used many variants of name, including "Hanna Kali Weynerowski", "Hanna Weynerowski-Kali", "Hanna Gordziałkowski-Weynerowski", "Hanka Weynerowska", and "Hanna Gordziałkowski", but she signed her paintings Kali.

Hanna Gordziałkowska

(1918-12-18)December 18, 1918
Warsaw, Poland
DiedJune 20, 1998(1998-06-20) (aged 79)
San Francisco, California
EducationAcademy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts
Spouse(s)Henryk "Henry" Weynerowski (1901–1988)


The figures in her art resemble Old Masters in subject and positioning, but are painted in a simplified, flattened and more graphic manner. The paintings are brightly colored, often portraying the subject shown sitting at bust-length, with an elongated face, flattened body, a patterned element such as part of the clothing, and with the subject's hands positioned in a classical pose. Her work has been likened to a combination of Neo-mannerist and Surrealist.


Hanna Gordziałkowska was born on 18 December 1918 in Warsaw, Poland.[2][3] She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, studying under Tadeusz Pruszkowski.[4] Her education was interrupted by the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany.[5] She joined the Polish resistance movement, the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), using the nom de guerre Kali;[5] she was a member of a women's sabotage unit. In the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, she was wounded and taken prisoner of war to Germany.[5] Her prison camp was eventually liberated by the Soviet Army. She escaped from communist-governed Poland, aided by the U.S. military, to West Germany.[2][5]

By 1945 she was living in Brussels, Belgium, and attending the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts (ARBA) in Brussels to complete her arts education.[2] In Brussels she married Henryk "Henry" Weynerowski (1901–88) a fellow Polish refugee and resistance fighter.[2][5] For the next five years, she lived in Europe and exhibited her art in various countries, including France, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Switzerland.[3] She used many variants of her name after emigrating from Poland and marrying, including "Hanna Kali Weynerowski", "Hanna Weynerowski-Kali", "Hanna Gordziałkowski-Weynerowski", "Hanka Weynerowska", and "Hanna Gordziałkowski". Her paintings were simply signed Kali.[6]

In 1953 she moved with her husband to San Francisco, California, where they lived until their deaths.

She died on 20 June 1998 in San Francisco. In her will, she requested that her 86 paintings be transferred to the Polish Museum in Rapperswil, Switzerland.[3] The paintings were missing for sixteen years until early 2014, when FBI agents visited her nephew in Santa Rosa, California.[7] Her nephew explained that 75 of the missing paintings were in a storage facility; they were returned to the museum.[7]


  • 1950: Galerie des Garets, Paris, France[8]
  • 1950: London Gallery, London, England[4]
  • 1950: Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium[4]
  • 1952: Weyhe Gallery, New York, New York, US[9]
  • 1953: São Paulo Art Biennial (Bienal Do Museu De Arte Moderna), São Paulo, Brazil[10]
  • 1955: California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, US[11]
  • 1963: Gallery 63 Inc., New York, New York, US[12]
  • 2014: Polish Museum, Rapperswil, Switzerland


  1. ^ "Odnalezione obrazy trafią do Rapperswilu". Culture.pl.
  2. ^ a b c d "Missing Polish paintings found in Santa Rosa". Associated Press. April 12, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Polish artwork returned from the United States". Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC. April 4, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Tomczykowska, Wanda (1990). "The Silent Heroes, Polish Contributions to California, Part I: Northern California" (PDF). The Polish Arts and Cultures Foundation: 35–37. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Catalog of lost artwork Hanna KALI Weynerowska (1918-1998)". Issuu. The Polish Museum in Rapperswil, Switzerland. 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Hanna Weynerowska Kali (Polish, 20th Century). Infanta. Oil on canvas. 32 x 24 inches". Heritage Auctions. 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "75 Kali paintings found in Bay Area return to Poland". ABC Local. KGO-TV. April 11, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  8. ^ Kali Gordzialkowska, galerie des Garets, Paris, du 2 au 17 juin 1950. : Préf. Robert Vrinat, Paul Fierens. OCLC WorldCat. OCLC 25773346. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "Hanna Weynerowska Kali Painting, B. 1918". BaerBosch.com. Baer and Bosch Auctioneers. 2013. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "Hanna Weynerowski-Kali 1918". ArtFacts.net. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "Architect and engineer (Volume v.200–203 (1955)) San Francisco". ebooksread. 1955. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  12. ^ Kali : [exhibition Apr. 29 – May 18, 1963] : Gallery 63 Inc. ... New York, N.Y. WorldCat.org. OCLC 80950583. Retrieved March 7, 2015.

External linksEdit