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The Art Department

 

The set of fifty cartoons by Kazimierz Sichulski, one of the best-known Polish cartoonists portraying his contemporaries, has a peculiar value to the history of Zakopane. A frequent visitor to Zakopane, though not with the intention of painting the landscape and mountaineers, the artist created his most famous set of works during World War I. After the outbreak of hostilities, many refugees, among them outstanding personalities, found themselves in Zakopane. A circle of well-known actors, politicians, painters and musicians met in the renowned Karpowicz restaurant in Krupówki Street. Sichulski, whose talent was his only asset, paid the restaurant owner with caricatures of the more illustrious individuals. This accounts for the origin of Sichulski’s masterly caricatures perfectly characterizing his sitters.

Likewise important and interesting is the collection of sculptures by Zakopane artists ranging from Wojciech Brzega to the contemporary ones, including Antoni Rząsa and Grzegorz Pecuch. Wojciech Brzega and Stanisław Gąsienica Sobczak the ‘Johym’ were artists born into local Tatra families. Both were educated at the Zakopane School of Timber Industry, after which they continued their studies, Brzega in Lwów, Cracow, Munich and Paris, Sobczak at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts and also in Paris. Wojciech Brzega, a versatile artist, collaborated for many years with Stanisław Witkiewicz on the creation of the Zakopane Style. Sobczak, besides being a sculptor, also practised ceramic art. Brzega’s and Sobczak’s realist sculptures in noble materials are portrayals of unique local types.

Collections of Władysław Hasior’s works and Marek Żuławski’s paintings and prints, both donated to the Tatra Museum, represent contemporary art in the holdings. Another donation, one of eastern carpets, comes from Anna Piotrowicz Kulczycka who made it in 1977.

A special place within the Art Department has been allotted to items connected with the history of Tatra climbing and skiing, and the Tatra Rescue Service. The Museum has for years been assembling the now historic sport equipment, club badges, distinctions, medals and other memorabilia connected with outstanding sportsmen. Elements of the collection are presented at temporal exhibitions on sports themes. In future, they may be displayed at a permanent exhibition in the department of tourism, rescue service and sport, the organization of which had been planned even between the World Wars.

 

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Translated & edited by: Joanna Holzman, Adrian Smith, Anna Wende-Surmiak