Zofia Frontczakówna was a popular model for early 20th century artists in the city of Kraków. She sat for Piotr Stachiewicz, Kasper Żelechowski, Wojciech Kossak, and Wincenty Wodzinowski among others. Artists often depicted her a simple country girl - which was true to her form. Her features change slightly from artist to artist, as did her hair color, eyes, or dress. Nonetheless she became one of the most recognizable faces among the art community. Zofia began modeling at the urging of her mother who was able to introduce her into Kraków’s art world. Her beauty earned her the monicker “Piękna Zośka” (Beautiful Sophie).
In 1921 Zofia married Maciej Paluch. Already known for her good looks, she became the wife of a pathologically jealous and often violent man who did not take well to his young wife’s success. Over the next six years she and her children endured abuse, poverty, and starvation at the hands of Paluch. In July of 1926 Zofia packed up her children and moved in with her aunt. She filed for divorce and alimony payments to which her husband did not react well. He was well known for being violent outside of his marriage as well. Before marrying Zofia, Paluch set his neighbor’s home on fire when the man refused to let him marry one of his daughters. Among threats of violence, Zofia had to find a new home because her aunt feared for her own life.
In May of 1927 Zofia’s mother visited the local police headquarters and reported not having seen her daughter in more than three days. She was last seen by neighbors heading towards her estranged husband’s home to collect late alimony payments. No one saw her leave. Following a brief investigation the police found traces of blood throughout Paluch’s home, but it wasn’t until a few days later that dismembered female remains began showing up in the nearby river. As it turns out, Zofia’s husband wasn’t going to let his wife get away with leaving him. He bludgeoned her to death and dismembered her body before throwing it in the river. Her head was never recovered.
Piotr Stachiewicz (1858-1938) [images 1,2,3]
Kasper Żelechowski (1863 - 1942) [image 4]
Unknown artist [image 5]