Recent Update: First retrospective exhibition of Ha-Ga’s works in the Museum of Caricature in Warsaw on the 12 th of May 2008


Last Friday I received a very nice mail from Zuzanna Lipinska, daughter of Polish cartoonists Anna Goslawska (Ha-Ga) and Eryk Lipinski. In February I had written about Ha-Ga with what little I could gather from my own small collection of her printed work and the even smaller amount of information from the Internet. Zuzanna pointed out some of the resulting misinformation so that I could add this new information to the post and change the errors.

Zuzanna has worked on a big retrospective exhibition of her mothers work that will take place at the Museum of Caricature in Warsaw starting on the 12th of May 2008. Zuzanna has also designed a new accompanying website to the exhibition.

It`s in Polish and English and it looks really great. It shows a lot of Ha-Ga`s beautiful illustrations for children`s books and her cartoons are collected in different topical sections. There is even a short film from Polish Television in 1957 showing Anna, Eryk and Zuzanna happily drawing cartoons together.

We exchanged some very nice mails and Zuzanna invited me to the opening of the exhibition in Warsaw and I`m looking forward to go now.

Thank you very much Zuzanna!


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NIEBIESKO-CZARNI, Ringo, 1966

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Niebiesko-Czarni (The Blue-Blacks) were one of the most popular Polish rock groups of the 1960s and early 1970s. Czesław Niemen played in the band for several years. Throughout their 14 year history (1962-1976) Niebiesko-Czarni released 8 LPs, 24 singles, sold over 3.5 million records and played more than 3000 shows.

The song “Ringo” is about a dog, not a Beatle. Listen to the dog barking in the middle of this great BIG-BEAT song!

NIEBIESKO-CZARNI, Ringo, 1966

That could be the whole story,but…

The drawing on the cover of this record was done by Ha-Ga, short for Anna Goslawska (1915-1975). In fact her signature can be found on a whole series of record sleeves for the state owned Muza label.

Finding out about her life and work turned out to be quite difficult, though.

(Anna Goslawska, 1939)

Information about her husband Eryk Lipinski was a lot easier to find. Here`s what i got on him…

Eryk Lipiński (1908-1991). Graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts 1934. Founder and Chief Editor of Polish satirical weekly magazine “Szpilki”. During World War II active member of the anti Nazi resistance, arrested for production of false documents, prisoner of Auschwitz. In 1978 founded Caricature Museum in Warsaw and was its director till 1991. His major awards include: 1948 – seven 1st prizes at the International Poster Exhibition in Vienna; 1964 – 1st prize for the best political poster of 1963; 1981 – “Distinguished Artist of the Year 1980” of The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Participated in International Poster Biennial Warsaw 1966-78 and numerous collective and individual exhibitions in Poland and abroad (Prague, London, Berlin, Vienna).

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Anna and Eryk met as children in the village outside Warsaw, where they both lived as neighbours and it was Lipinski who encouraged her to start publishing her cartoons in Szpilki. She published her first cartoon in 1936. Starting with her pen-name Ha-Ga, Goslawska seems to have tried to make a little bit of a mystery of herself. In an article from 1958 it is mentioned that: “…of all things in the world, she didn`t want to tell, that she was the wife of famous cartoonist Eryk Lipinski.” Ha-Ga was a regular contributor of “Szpilki” , illustrated children`s books and designed posters.

But it was her cartoons that made the biggest impact. Big-eyed and always a little sad, her characters look quite different than the more conventional styles of the time . Compared to most of her contemporaries her stuff still looks fresh today.

ha-gababy.jpg (“Mom, I must confess, I’m expecting a baby!”—-“Oh, my god, not so loud, our housekeeper could hear that!”) ha-gapausengymnastik.jpg

(“Why aren`t you exercising with us?”—-“I`m an accountant, I have to do balancing all year round!”)

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(“That reminds me, it`s high time for me to go to the beauty salon!”)

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(Above article about Ha-Ga from “Das Magazin”, Nr.3, 1955)

In 1955 Eryk`s son Tomek was born. Tomek Lipinski became a key-figure in the early Polish Punk scene of the late 70s/early 80s. He played in Tilt and Brygada Kryzys and is a well known Polish rock musician today.

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(pictured on the first photo from left to right: Jacek `Luter` Lenartowicz(drums), Tomek`frantz` Lipinski(guitar/vocals) and Tomek `rastaman`Szczecinski(bass) , page from “Euro Rock”, Rowohlt Verlag, Germany, December 1981)

Here`s a recent video of Tomek and Tilt

and here`s Tomek Lipinski on myspace.

I want to thank Szymon for finding and translating a lot of this information for me. This is the story of my dreams. It`s got all the right ingredients: Cartooning, Anti Nazi Resistance, Big-Beat and Punk Rock!

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Update, Feb 18. 2008 :

I just contacted Tomek to verify my story. Seems I got it wrong. Here`s what he wrote: “This is slightly incorrect in that I’m not HaGa’s and Eryk’s son. I had a different mother. However HaGa was Eryk’s wife and they had a daughter, Zuzanna who lives permanently in London. You might contact her directly if you wish. In April there will be a major HaGa’s exhibition in Caricature Museum in Warsaw (established by my late father).” Well, sorry for the mistake and thank you very much Tomek. I must go to Warsaw now in April…

( Eine kleine, von mir auf deutsch geschriebene Zusammenfassung dieses Textes, erschien am 30. Juli 2009 in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World.

Im Internet zu lesen ist sie hier. )