As a young boy, Chelmonski began to learn how to draw through his father, a simple leaseholder. He would later, in 1867, have formal lessons in the Warsaw Drawing Class, where he continued for four years. Not only did he attend these classes, but he was also mentored by Maksymilian Gierymski, the leading Polish painter of the time.
The year Chelmonski stopped attending the Warsaw Drawing Class, he moved to Munich and lived there until 1874. The artist took the opportunity to study at the Academy of H. Anschutz and A. Strahuber. He was in contact with great painters and worked alongside many great Munich artists, like Maksymilian Gierymski and Jozef Brandt. During this period, he traveled a lot through Polish territory, including the breathtaking Tatra Mountains and the country of Ukraine.
By 1875, Chelmonski was exhibiting his work in Paris, an important city for up-and-coming artists of this period. His landscapes were truly a success, so much so that he began to have too many commissions. By the end of his career, Chelmonski continues traveling to locations like Venice, Vienna, and his home-land, Poland, in 1887. Two years later, he decided to settle in a village called Kuklówka Zarzeczna to live the rest of his life in nature.
The final phase of Chelmonski’s career was quite productive, and some of his most famous paintings were from this period. An exquisite example of his is the masterpiece Partridges, completed in 1891, which portrays a group of birds walking through a vast field of snow. The artist’s composition and precise brushstrokes create a beautiful image with limited figures. His also domains his color palette as the white field of snow is translated in a variety of shades of white.
Another notable artwork completed by Chelmonski during his late period is Storks, from 1900. This painting depicts an older man and a child on a field of grass, looking up at the birds in the sky. The artist would often focus on idyllic themes or rural subjects, translating this simple life-style into beautiful works of art. His works were often considered Patriotic.
Chelmonski passed away at the age of 64, near the city of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, in Kulówka, in 1914.