December in Venice


Dublin Core


December in Venice


In 2008 this painting, loaned for exhibition at the Mills Mansion, Mt. Morris, was stolen and has yet to be recovered. The digital image shown here has been scanned from a photographic print. Although the location of this bridge is not known—there are some 400 in Venice—it evokes a pleasing range of saturated and pale colors, sunlit highlights and shadowy walkways. On the canal we see a gondolier and three red and white pali da casada (“poles of the family”) marking a distinct location. Everything a view might want of Venice is here in Polowetski’s painting.

About the Artist: Born in Bielsk, Poland, Polowetski immigrated to the US in 1892. He grew up in New York city amidst harrowing conditions; when ten years old and a ward of the Deborah Nursery and Child’s Protectory—which provided day care for poor working parents—Polowetski and two other boys were “locked in the cellar of the institution and after being flogged tied to gas pipes and left prisoners in the dark hole” (“He Flogged the Children”). Given this childhood his subsequent career is remarkable: at age sixteen he studied with Robert Frederick Blum at the National Academy of Design, then in 1903 after receiving a scholarship with Léon Bonnat at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. In Paris he became friends with painters like Bernard Gussow and Samuel Halpert, exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, and eventually maintained a studio up to and during the Great War before fleeing in 1915. Plowetski’s efforts at returning to France in 1919 reveal efforts on his behalf by fellow painters George Elmer Browne and Oscar Miller. Polowetski was a member of the Salmagundi Club and, while in Paris, of the American Art Association. His vivid landscapes and portraits were exhibited in American venues like the Corcoran Gallery, the Salons of America, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In all likelihood he made his living as a portraitist, receiving commissions by bank officers, industrialists, university presidents, governors, and the like; among his FAP works is one of the pilot and explorer Floyd Bennett, for whom a New York airport was named. In 2008 Polowetski’s NDG painting “December in Venice,” loaned for exhibition at the Mills Mansion, Mt. Morris, was stolen and has yet to be recovered. After World War II Polowetski moved to Santa Fe and began painting in the American southwest, then lived the final years of his life in California. 1 work at the National Portrait Gallery, UK. 5 more images at FAP.


Polowetski, Charles Ezekiel, 1884-1955


Federal Art Gallery




Ritz, Abigail (photography)

Cooper, Ken (biography)


New Deal Gallery, Genesee Valley Council on the Arts

Object #FA18242


jpeg, 1.3 MB


Still image



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

Oil painting: 30 x 24 in.
Photograph: 6 x 4 in.
Condition: stolen