|Józef Mularczyk was born on July 14th, 1916 in Witkowice in Moravia. After his family moved to Tarnów, he attended Kazimierz Brodziński Gymnasium there and in 1934 he passed his maturity exam. During these years he made theatre scenery along with his schoolmate – Tadeusz Kantor. He also hiked in the Carpathian Mountains several times sketching mountain views, nature and people.
Between 1934 and 1939 he studied at the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków in the painting studios headed by Władysław Jarocki and Fryderyk Pautsch.
During his studies, Mularczyk first started to paint sea, which later became a significant motif of his works. It was also the time when he joined „Fellowship of the Green Pin” - an artistic group lead by A. Majcher. Mularczyk participated in several exhibitions of this group (in Kalisz, Częstochowa, Kraków).
After the Second World War he moved to Lębork, where he became a very active organizer of cultural activities. He founded a music school in Lębork and was its director for three years. He also helped to create an art centre. As a gifted violinist (he completed two years of music academy) he gave several concerts between the years 1954-1955. He also designed scenery for Teatr Polski (Polish Theatre) in Lębork, including scenery for Jeńcy by Lucjan Rydel.
In 1955 he moved to Zakopane, where he was teaching in State Technical College of Fine Arts as well as in secondary school for several years. Zakopane became a turning point in his artistic career - having settled in this area, he came back to painting. Like many of his his predecessors, he couldn't resist charm of the Tatra Mountains landscape either the gentle simplicity of Podhale art – which turned his interest into woodwork. Therefore, he did not only paint, but also started to make musical instruments, design and make artistic furniture, sculpt religious figures.
In his paintings he depicts charm of the most beautiful nooks of the Tatra Mountains. His dynamic style of painting ideally conveys roughness and danger of the Tatra landscapes. But mountains do not mean only rough, sometimes thrilling and threatening nature, but also people of this land with their everyday activities and customs. It is at the same time the world of wooden sheds and flocks of sheep, disappearing due to civilization changes.
During his stay in Zakopane, Mularczyk was strongly affiliated with its art society. In 1959 he participated in a group exhibition of a division of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. Since then he showed his works several times in the galleries in Zakopane, including periodic exhibitions of “Art of Podhale region”. In 1970 he participated in a large jubilee exhibition titled “70-lecie Okręgu Związku Plastyków w Zakopanem” (“70 years of the Zakopane Division of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers”).
He also became involved in the activity of the local Modrzejewska Society of Theatre Lovers (he made theatre scenery together with his students) and was an active participant of the local music society. He was interested in tourism and the history of discovering Tatra Mountains. He dedicated his paintings to the Tatra tourism pioneers, including a legendary guide, Klimek Bachleda, whose portrait was given to a group of Tatra mountain voluntary rescue service.
He settled down in Bochnia in 1974 and in the last thirty years he has painted several works depicting the city, or, to be more exact – its suburbs. He chose Bochnia, because of its charm, rich history and traditions of cultural life as well as quite good ecological conditions and proximity of Kraków.
Quite a different atmosphere can be found in his canvases which he made after his stay in the Netherlands (landscapes of Kinderdijk and Durstede with traditional Dutch motif of windmills). Even when he was living in Bochnia, he still painted landscapes of the Tatra Mountains. Late in his life he wasn't painting in the open air any more, but remembered every nook of the mountains and depicted the colours and atmosphere of the landscape in every detail.
In the last three decades Mularczyk's works have been exhibited several times in Bochnia. For the first time he showed his paintings in this town in 1969 – in the rooms of the district cultural centre (which is now the seat of the Bochnia Salt Mine Health-resort). It was a retrospective of the "artist from Zakopane”. A few paintings of this exhibition were bought by Stefania Jarkowska to the Carter Museum in Tuskegee (USA). Some of his canvases travelled also to Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Great Britain.
The crowning achievement was a major exhibition of Józef Mularczyk's paintings, which was organized in the Palace of Art by the Association of Friends of Fine Arts in Kraków (April – May 1987). During this exhibition 120 works on sea, Tatra mountains, portraits, still lifes as well as genre compositions of the years 1936-1986 were shown.
At the end of his life his paintings were often exhibited in Zakopane: in Villa Koliba and several times in Villa Orla. The next exhibition in the Palace of Fine Arts in Kraków (in July 2010) was the first grand exhibition after the artist’s death – it featured works from the period 1940-2005, which had not been displayed for a long time.