Zofia Fortecka comes from an old highlander family. She lives and works in Zakopane. The house and studio of Zofia Fortecka are located in Krzeptówki, where her ancestors from the highlander families of Stopka and Krzeptowski have been based for generations. The artist’s studio is located on the Trail of Podtatrze Cultural Heritage. The permanent exhibition of works by the painter and her daughter, Magda – also an artist painting on glass, found shelter in the interior of a historic highlander cottage from Wróblówka near Czarny Dunajec. The cottage was built in 1864, and was eventually moved to the artist’s property in Krzeptówki. Zofia graduated from Oswald Balzer high school in Zakopane. She then completed studies at the University of Agriculture in Wrocław. Zofia Fortecka began to paint on glass as an adult after leaving her professional career. Beginning with her first attempts in 1980, Zofia Fortecka developed her style that was original and uncharacteristic for the Podhale way. The artist found her own inspiration in miniature medieval painting, which she encountered while traveling around France. The work of Zofia Fortecka is unique and the themes of her paintings are mainly the lives of saints and stories from the Old and New Testament. The artist creates sets of miniatures on glass, builds crosses, triptychs and altars from tiny pictures. The smallest are 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm, the largest 11 by 8 cm. Their arrangement constitutes a narrative whole. The author presented her works for the first time in 1984 in Krakow. Since then, she has had dozens of exhibitions in galleries, cultural centers, and museums in Poland, in several European countries, in the United States, and in Mexico. In Mexico in 1995, she had the opportunity, together with her daughter Magda , to test her skills as a teacher by teaching glass painting techniques at La Escuela des Artesanias in Mexico City. Zofia’s husband, Janusz Fortecki, is a graduate of the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, a ski jumper, and was a coach of the Polish national team (Wojciech Fortuna, gold medalist in ski jumps at the Olympic Games in Sapporo in 1972, was his student). After finishing his coaching career, he also discovered an artistic passion. From the very beginning, he supported his wife’s work with his skills, making exquisite wood-carved frames, harmonized in color and style with each of Zofia’s works. The works of Zofia Fortecka are in the collections of the Tatra Museum in Zakopane, the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, the Silesian Museum in Katowice, and in private collections in Poland and abroad. In 1987, the Ministry of Culture and Art granted the painter the status of a professional artist, a privilege usually reserved for trained artists.

photos: Adrian Krawczyk