Zofia Romer

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Zofia Romer
Portrait by Witkacy, 1935
Born February 16, 1885
Dorpat, Governorate of Estonia, Russian empire
Died August 23, 1972 (age 87)
Montreal, Canada
Occupation painter
Nationality Polish

Zofia Romer (February 16, 1885 – August 23, 1972), née Zofia Dembowska was a Polish painter. She was born in 1885 in Estonia to well-known physician Tadeusz Dembowski and his wife Matylda. She grew up in Lithuania and Poland studying under various painters. As a young woman she was romantically linked with Bronisław Malinowski and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz.[1]


In Lithuania, she studied painting first under Trutniev in Vilnius and subsequently under Roth and Holoszy in Krakow, Poland and Munich, Germany. In 1903 and 1904, she continued her studies in Paris with the well known portrait painter Jacques-Émile Blanche and the historical painter Luc-Olivier Merson. She completed her formal artistic education back in Krakow with Józef Siedlecki at the Baraniecki Museum.

Marriage and career[edit]

In 1911 she married Eugeniusz Romer, a wealthy and influential Polish landowner in Lithuania. Mrs. Romer played a significant role in the artistic heritage of Lithuania. During a prolific artistic career spanning almost 70 years and encompassing a variety of media, she produced about 5000 works, of which at least 1200 are catalogued. From 1943 onward she earned her living as a portrait painter.

She had 5 children Zofia, (who had 3 children; Jas, Stas, and Anna Hempel) Roch Edward, (who had 6 children: Kristina, Maia, George, Thaddeus, Marika and Mark), Eugenia, (whose only child perished during WWII) Andrzej Tadeusz (who had 3 children; Jan Edward, Anna Louise, and Marisha Helena) and Hela. Her youngest son Andrzej devoted his later life to preserving his mothers legacy, artistic achievements and publishing the memoirs of both of his parents. Only Zofia's youngest grandchild, Marisha Helena Romer (b. 1965), still lives in Europe with her family, the rest of her surviving grandchildren and great grandchildren scattered around the globe.

As a result of her displacement from her home during World War II, in the second half of her life she lived and created in such diverse places as the Russian Federation, Tehran, Cairo, London, the United States, and Montreal, Canada, where she died in 1972.

Her work hangs in the collections of many museums in Eastern Europe including the State Museums of Kaunas, Siauliai, Telsiai, Kelme, and Vilnius, and the National Museum in Warsaw, as well as numerous private collections all over the world.

In 1992 a catalogue of her known work was published in connection with a multiple museums exhibition of her work.

Her works have been exhibited in London, Warsaw, Montreal, Melbourne, Cairo, Vilnius, and Brussels


  1. ^ Michael Young, Malinowski: Odyssey of an Anthropologist, 1884-1920, Yale University Press, 2004

Further reading[edit]

  • Anna & Andrzej Rosnerowie, Pasmo czynności ciągiem lat idące, Warsaw, 1992 (In Polish)
  • Jolanta Sirkaite, Dailininke Sophija Romeriene, Kulturos Filosofijos ir Meno Institutas, Vilnius, 2005 (In Lithuanian)
  • Prugar-Myślik / Janoniene / Sirkaite / Daugelis, Catalogue of Picture Exhibition of Zofia Dembowska Romer's Works, M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum National Museum, Warsaw, 1992 (In English, Polish, Lithuanian)