Zdzisław Beksiński was a remarkable figure of Polish Surrealism and Magic Realism in the 20th and 21st centuries. His works are very mysterious and intriguing—just look at today's work.
AB79 is the most intimate among Zdzisław Beksiński’s works; it is a kind of wink at Tomasz, his only son. Tomasz became popular in the 1980s for his radio presentations devoted to New Romantic music. Despite his professional successes, he suffered from depression and was particularly fascinated by death. In 1977, at 18, he printed his own necrologue and hung it up all over the town. At 20 he tried to commit suicide.
Tomasz’s suicidal attempts and deepening aversion to people had been a huge trauma to Zdzislaw Beksinski. Once he said: "Together with Tomasz we’re sitting in the same boat, which is heading towards the waterfall, which we both realize. Yet me, I’d like to sit in the comfortable armchair, while Tomasz would like to sit on the cactus. Or, gladlier, he’d leave the boat immediately."
The painting has a clear connection with Tomasz’s suicide attempt. We can see two wolves in the desert, surrounded with fires burning out, who are staring at the balloon that’s flying away. On the balloon there’s an inscription: Nevermore. It’s both a desperate request to Tomasz and, at the same time, a quote of his beloved poem, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe. The painting was in the private collection of Tomasz Beksiński; after his suicide on Christmas Eve 1999, it was given to the Historical Museum in Sanok.
P.S. Read here more on the Dystopian Surrealism of Zdzisław Beksiński.