Feliks Topolski R.A. - Chronicler Extraordinary

Self portrait

Extract from "FELIKS TOPOLSKI: Chronicler Extraordinary" by Bernard Denvir

Congolese army

Topolski's Chronicle , which, descended in format and inspiration from the broadsheet of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and produced by the artist largely single-handed from a printing press in his own studio provided for several decades what Joyce Carey rightly described as "the most brilliant record we have of the contemporary scene, as seized by a contemporary mind."

Glowing with visual vitality, pictures and prose jostling each other on the cheap brown paper, bristling with comment and observation on people, politics and events, it came out twenty-four times a year; warmly passionate, satirical yet humanistic, its graphic style, no less than its subject matter ranged from the panoramic and universal to the particular and precise.

Congo refugee 1962

The Chronicle has been exhibited in New York, Moscow, Cologne, Hamburg, Leipzig, Hawaii and Tel Aviv; it has been displayed in a pub in Tokyo, in a pastry shop in Warsaw, and by the British Central Electricity Generating Board.

ONU plane

It has been turned into an album in Italy and an educational handbook in Britain: it has been serialized in the United States, Denmark, Switzerland and Poland.


Topolski's Chronicle containing some 3,000 drawings represents but a small fraction of his total output, but it is a significant one, not only because it exemplifies the constantly productive versatility of his draughtsmanship, the universality of his interests, and the exuberant acuity of his vision, but because it represents what is one of his most characteristic features; his concept of the artist as a figure concerned more with public than with private life.

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