What is it about the human spirit that causes people to make things? What flows in the pulse of humanity that compels the making of art? How do we recognize the innate roots of the creative impulse imbedded in the human genome? Finding Roman Golla is an exhibition exploring this human need for connection through art.  It does so by presenting the art of one self-taught individual, who shares, with the many the Naïve, Outsider, and Visionary artists of the world, the compulsion to communicate through art.

Roman Golla never self-identified as an artist, but, at age 46, over a dozen years after immigrating to America, this all changed. Though he had dabbled in carving, Roman felt the need to paint. He used his brush to give voice to memories of his native Poland, stories and myths he held dear, imaginations of places he had never been, and his passion for chess. He was, it should be noted, a chess master. He played in the US Open Chess Tournaments in 1953, 1961, and 1963.

Discovering this and other aspects of his life informs our view of human creative action. Knowing Roman to have died a pauper, without family or fanfare, in 2001 is sad, but to see the man through his paintings is pure magic. Roman’s art is alive, and the stories he shares through his paintings excite the imagination and warm the heart. And, this is the beauty of artists who, without prior training, find voice through the making of art: they provide a brief glimpse of the soul of humanity.

The portfolio below is from the known works of Roman Golla. Many of them will appear in the exhibition at the Crisp Visual Art Center in April 2018. Some have been previously shared on The Unintended Curator. I hope you enjoy this preview of the exhibition, Finding Roman Golla.

A1 Bobcat

Bobcat Catching Snow Rabbit, 1964/65                               
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24”x30”, 60.9 x 76.2                                       
NS2014.002

A1 NS2014.023 Hummingbirds with Floral Background I

Hummingbirds with Floral Background II, Circa 1977    
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 18” x 24,” 45.7cm x 60.9cm                          
NS2014.066

A1 NS2014.029 Pairing Time

Pairing Time, 1978                                                                  
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 28.5,” 60.9 cm x 72.4 cm                     
NS2014.029

A1 NS2014.065 Tiger

Tiger, 1978                                                                                 
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 23.5” x 24.5,” 59.7 cm x 62.2 cm                  
NS2014.065

Chess NS2014.015 Historical Chess Game Ending Position in Tournament

Historical Chess Game Ending Position in Tournament, 1971/72
Roman W. Golla
Oil on Canvas, 20” x 24,” 50.8cm  x 60.9cm                         
NS2014.015

Moving the Queen

Moving the Queen, 1969                                                         
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 20” x 24.” 50.8 cm x 60.9 cm                        
NS2014.064

Chess NS2014.070 Chess Puzzle

Chess Puzzle, 1979                                                                   
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48” 60.9 x 121.9                                    
NS2014.070

Goral NS2014.054 Five Goral Dancers

Five Goral Dancers, Circa 1980                                             
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 36,” 60.9 cm x 91.4cm                         
NS2014.054

Music NS2014.046 The Concert Campfire

The Concert Campfire, Circa 1979
Roman Golla
Oil on Canvas, 22” x 28,” 55.9 cm x 71.1 cm
NS2014.046

Gypsys by camp fire

Gypsy Musicians by a Camp Fire, Circa 1979                     
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 40” x 50,” 101.6cm x 127cm                         
NS2014.012

Music NS2014.042 Young Girl with Mandolin

Young Goral with Mandolin, Circa 1978                            
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 30” x18,” 76.2 cm x 45.7cm                          
NS2014.042

Music NS2014.076 The Concert

The Concert, Circa 1980                                                          
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 36” 60.9cm x 91.4cm                           
NS2014.076

NS2014.073 Casmir the Restorer

Casmir the Restorer, Circa1980’s
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48,” 91.4 cm x 121.9 cm                      
NS2014.075

NS2014.033 Oynyena Maria, the Fire Goddess

Oynyena Maria, The Fire Goddess, 1974/75                      
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 20” x 16” 50.8 cm x 40.6 cm                         
NS2014.033

NS2014.073 The Maiden (Dziewona)

The Maiden (Dziewona), Circa 1977                                    
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48” 60.9 cm x 71.1 cm                         
NS2014.073

Fantasy NS2014.010 Floral Parade

Flora (Floral Parade), 1969/67                                             
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48,” 91.4 cm x 121.9cm                       
NS2014.010

NS2014.030 The Baptizing of Jesus

The Baptizing of Jesus, Circa 1979                                        
Roman W. Golla
Oil on Canvas, 40” x 50,” 101.6 cm x 127 cm                       
NS2014.030

NS2014.077 Buffalo Hunt (After George Catlin)

Buffalo Hunt (After George Catlin), Circa Late 1970        
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48” 60.9 cm x 121.9cm                        
NS2014.077

Fantasy NS2014.072 Indian Sunset Camp

Indian Sunset Camp, Circa 1972                                           
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48,” 60.9cm  x 121.9cm                       
NS2014.072

 

Fantasy NS2014.017 Indian Sunset

Indian Sunset, Circa1972                                                       
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48,” 60.9 cm x 121.9 cm                      
NS2014.017

Goral NS2014.071 Wedding Party

Wedding Party, Circa 1979                                                    
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48,” 60.9cm  x 121.9cm                       
NS2014.071

Goral NS2014.055 Following the River in Winter

Following the River in Winter, Circa 1980                          
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24” x 36,” 60.9cm x 91.4cm                          
NS2014.055

Winter Escort

The Winter Escort, Circa 1979                                               
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 20” x 24,” 50.8 cm x 60.9 cm                        
NS2014.047

Lady Lion Tamer

Lady Lion Tamer, 1970                                                           
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 22.5” x 29,” 57.2 cm x 73.7cm                      
NS2014.008

Fantasy NS2014.016 Neptune and Two Mermaids in an Aquarium

Neptune and Two Mermaids in an Aquarium, 1971        
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48,” 91.4 cm x 121.9 cm                      
NS2014.016

Fantasy NS2014.008 The Lady from Spain

The Lady from Spain, 1969/70                                              
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas, 24”x36,” 60.9 cm x 91.4 cm                          
NS2014.007

NS2014.009 Kosciusko, Lincoln, and Kennedy

Kosciusko, Lincoln, and Kennedy, 1969/70                        
Roman W. Golla                                                                       
Oil on Canvas with artist-made frame, 12”x 20,” 30.5 cm x 50.8 cm   
NS2014.009

Featured Image: Mares and Foals in Landscape (After George Stubbs), 1970, oil on canvas, NS2014.062.

As always, I appreciate your comments.

 

 

Posted by theunintendedcurator

My name is Bob Nowalk. I teach at Culver Academies, a college preparatory boarding school in Culver Indiana. Since 2001, I have been working with the Academy's Art Collection and Galleries to connect the process of learning with works of art. Several of my students suggested creating a blog to further share the stories we discover about art, artists, and the creative process. Thanks for visiting.

2 Comments

  1. Will there be a catalog? A guy that works with me at the bank I’m at worked with Roman for 15yrs and he’s knowledgeable of a lot of romans paintings and would like to know if you will have any catalogs for the exhibit.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Danny, I have a catalog written, but have not found funding to publish. I will be putting together a brochure and would be happy to provide your friend with a copy of the copyrighted manuscript of the catalog.

      Like

      Reply

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