Stefan Norblin


Stefan Norblin – an illustrator, commercial graphic designer, portraitist, fashion designer, and set designer was one of the most popular artists in the Poland between the world wars.

The Second World War and the political situation in Poland changed his life completely and doomed him to artistic oblivion in post-war Poland.

Until the outbreak of the Second World War Norblin lived in Warsaw and participated actively in the culture of the nation’s capital. In September 1939 he left Poland never to come back. After the war his works were mostly destroyed or dispersed and his oeuvre was almost entirely forgotten.

The film is the first attempt to restore his memory, a remembrance of his life and versatile artistic accomplishments. It moreover presents a dram of a war refugee, who fearing death left Poland and never came back to his homeland.

During his ‘wartime wandering’ Norblin arrived in Baghdad, where he painted portraits of the king of Iraq and his family. Later on, in Mumbai, India, he portrayed maharajas and made murals in their residencies, and in Jodhpur designed an exquisite Art Deco interior of a newly built grand palace Umaid Bhawan.

The film is also a story about a drama of a Pole and a European, stripped by history of all he knew and was used to. Even though he fulfilled his youthful dream about America, where he finally emigrated, he did not find there the happiness he had expected.

A filmed biography of the life and art of Norblin until his suicidal death (1952) in San Francisco.

Directed by: Robert Ćwikliński
Production year: 2007
Running time: 53’19”
Executive producer: TV Vimax
Film co-financed by: Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej, TV Vimax, TVP Polonia, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza
Producers: Telewizja Polska S.A., TVP Polonia, TV Vimax


Written and directed by
Robert Ćwikliński

Stefania Grodzieńska
Maria Kurpik
dr Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito
dr hab. Maria Krzysztof Byrski
Andrew Norblin

Mirosław Skrzypczak
Józef Możejko
Miron Broda
Sandra Stojanovic

Sound recording
Przemysław Kretkowski

Miron Broda

Music setting
Robert Ćwikliński

Narrated by
Sławomir Bajew

Poems read by
Małgorzata Łodej

Translated by
Lena Serafin

Text edition
Robert Ćwikliński
Sławomir Bajew

Computer animations
Maciej Ćwiek

Production manager
Robert Ćwikliński

Special thanks for assistance during the making of the film:


Maja Karwowska
Paulina Kapuścińska Los Angeles
Sara McManus Cambridge
Claus Simon Berlin
Polish Embassy in India
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles


Exhibits for the film made available by:


The Poster Museum at Wilanów
The National Museum in Warsaw
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
The Theatre Museum in Warsaw
The Historical Museum of Warsaw
Museum of the Polish Army
Archive for Mechanical Documentation in Warsaw
Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Warsaw
National Film Archive
Film Archive “Chełmska”
”Zacheta” National Gallery of Art
The Sejm Library
Powązki Cemetery
Polish Library in Paris
Adrew Norblin, San Jose
Katarzyna Sosenko, Kraków
Private collections


The film features excerpts of texts:

Poemat Zdzisława Kleszczyńskiego – „Żywot Colombiny”
Książki Anny Mieszkowskiej – „Była sobie piosenka”, „Ja, kabareciarz. Marian Hemar”
Publikacja Mariana Dienstl-Dąbrowy
Publikacja dr hab. Marty Leśniakowskiej

Film co-financed by

Polish Film Institute

TV Vimax

TV Polonia

Adam Mickiewicz Institute

© 2007