Henryk Plich was born on January 22nd 1904 at Poznanski’s Factory Workers’ House in Lodz, Poland, as the youngest of ten children born to factory workers Maria Dominiak and Franciszek Plich. He would never come to know the names of all of his siblings; he would remember only Zocha, Tekla, Marysia, and Stach who died after swallowing a lethal dose of poison to escape conscription into the Tsarist army. Another sibling was Hanka, his beloved sister, who he would support him in her dying days and would, herself, die in the early 1960’s.

        Although illiterate, both parents imparted a special sensitivity on Henryk. An accident involving a threshing machine at the factory left Maria missing three fingers on her left hand (in Henryk’s portrait of his mother, she is shown with her hands hidden behind her back to hide the disfigurement). Henryk would recall that one of his mother’s favourite pastimes was making paper flowers while his father, Franciszek was a man with a gift for storytelling. Both parents nurtured Henryk’s artistic talent and encouraged diligence in his work, these were traits that he armed himself with in his journey into the art world.

        Balucki Yard at the beginning of the twentieth Century was a scene of great poverty. To help support her large family, Maria worked two jobs; working on a field and as a cleaner at a private school, she would earn little supplementary money selling paper flowers. Meanwhile, Fraciszek continued to work at Poznanski’s Factory until paralysis in both legs would render him unable to carry on with his duties and require him to seek other means to support his family namely selling cigarettes (one of Henryk’s portraits shows his father doing this). Unable to support his family and growing increasingly disillusioned by his situation, Franciszek committed suicide. Maria would live futher years until her own death in 1943 while being looked after by Henryk.

        From an early age Henryk showed a great talent in painting. He would draw and paint in every spare moment, even incurring the wrath of caretakers who would often chase him away after catching him painting on the walls of their buildings. After finishing primary school, he was enrolled at City High School where every year after the holidays the school would organize an exhibition of his work.

        Making his way to Krakow with holes in his boots and not enough money in his pocket for a return ticket, Henryk undertook a series of exams for the Academy of Fine Arts, sleeping on park benches during his time in the big city. His determination paid off and he was soon admitted entrance into the Academy on the strength of his exam results; his sculpture of Charon, carrying the dead to the other side of the Styx was singled out by the professors’ for praise.

        During the years 1924-1932, Henryk would study intensively with only a break to serve in the Regiment of Light Artillery in Skierniewice. While studying he supported himself as a photo retoucher at a studio in Krakow while also taking up work as a bit part actor in many of Krakow’s theatres. He would later recall that had he not been born to be a painter, he would have made a fine actor.


        Blessed with good looks, Henryk loved to socialize and was a keen dancer as well as playing the harmonica. Although his time during these years was filled with studying and working, he would continue to express himself through his works. At the end of his second year at the Academy, the rector there presented him with an easel and a paint box, not only to reward a talented student but to assist and support a young artist in need.

       Soon, Henryk married for the first time. His wife, Kamila was ten years his senior. Perhaps expecting care and material support from this older woman that was not forthcoming, the marriage crumbled soon after it had begun.

        In the 1930’s, Henryk embarked on a second marriage, this time to a woman named Zofia who was also a few years his senior. This marriage would also be short lived, but not before Henryk had built a home with the studio of his dreams on Tuszynska Street in Lodz. There are no documents, photos or memorabilia from this period of Plich’s life. After leaving both Kamila and later Zofia, Henryk took with him only his one suitcase, easel and paint box which would remain with him until his death.

        After graduation, Henryk found work as a draftsman in Lodz PAST (Poland Phone Joint Stock Company). He supplemented his income during this time by painting and selling his work.

       In September 1939, Henryk found himself recruited into the army. Arriving to an abandoned barracks, his services were no longer needed. He was soon able to return to Lodz where he supported himself, during the Occupation, as a textile designer. 

       During the 1950’s, Henryk met Stanislawa Blok. Warm and friendly, Henryk will remember Stanislawa as a “good spirit”, she will later become his third and final wife. In Stanislawa, not only did Henryk find a doting wife, but also a wise woman, constructive critic of his work, friend and mentor; together they raised two children, Marzenna and Boguslaw. Seventeen years Henryk’s junior, Stanislawa was cared for by Henryk until her death, from serious illness, in 1981.


        The post war years represented a busy period for the artist. A city decorator, an art teacher, a lectuerer at a teachers college and a devoted husband who spent any free time assisting his wife, Stanislawa, in her profession as a landscaping designer, Henryk still found time to paint. His passion consumed his life and in October 11, 1986, Plich died in front of his easel. 


The funeral attended by family, friends and colleagues was conducted in silence at the cemetery in Lodz Municipal Zarzew. Henryk Plich left behind a lasting legacy of hundreds of paintings.




        Henryk Plich' s life, devoted entirely to creating, is best summed up by a quote in his self-written biography:

        "During my school years I would showcase my work. I enjoyed doing that and I have done it ever since I was five years old."



       During his academy years (between years 1924-1932) he was a student of professor Wl. Jarocki, W. Weiss, and Teodor Axentowicz. He also attended open air sessions with prof. Felicjan Szczesny Kowarski.




       After F. Kowarski left, Plich stayed with prof. Karol Frycz. During his time in Frycz 's studio he received a prize for the fresco "Venus After Bath", a commendation for the design of the Madonna for Garrison Church in Lublin, and he was also acclaimed for his work, as a whole.

       In 1932, soon after graduating, Plich moved to Lublin to complete a previously designed fresco, during this period he painted various portraits of military servicemen.


       After returning to Lodz in 1939, Plich was always busy creating new works. Meanwhile, he showcased his artwork in an exhibition at the Art Salon in Sienkiewicz Park and an exhibition in City's Grammar School, he also painted many portraits of the citizens of both Lodz and Warsaw, as well as landscapes, still lives and secular and religious compositions, including polychromy.

       Between 1939-1945, the artist lived in Lodz, continuing his career.

In 1945, following the liberation of Lodz he completed a stained glass window in P.R.N of Lodz on Piotrkowska St. and designed a plate commemorating the institution's workers killed by the occupying forces as well as designed the Marshall's Roll Zymierski's mace.

Between 1945-1950, Plich was acting as a designer commissioned by the City. He designed a rostrum, the interiors of theaters, concert halls, hotels, cinemas and acted as an artistic supervisor while these projects were being completed.

He designed a Gardening Exhibition in Poznan and was honoured with a gold medal for his achievement.

During the following years, Plich was also supervising other exhibitions within the region.

He also arranged many solo exhibitions, including most notably:

an exhibition in the CBWA (Central Art Exhibition Office),. Piotrkowska 102,

an exhibition at the House of Culture N-la in Lodz

an exhibition at the House of Culture in Tarnobrzeg

an exhibition in the allotment gardens in Lodz (Zrodlowa Street)

two exhibitions in the Study of Teachers (Wólczańska street)

and an exhibition in the foyer of the Grand Theater in Łódź


       Aside from his creative work, H. Plich worked in landscape architecture offices and served as counsel for the Faculty of fine arts as well as was as instructing painting and drawing in number of schools and institutions.



          Plich died on 11 October 1986. Posthumously, H. Plich work was presented at the Museum of City History as a part of the exhibition "Lodz. Portrait of a City "(6/15/05). The paintings exhibited were: "Woman in the interior of the kitchen" - 1922., Watercolor, paper Stained glass project - 1945., Ink, paper Reconstruction of the Zeromskiego street- about 1950, pencil, paper

(translation: Khalid Peerbaccus)