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“My paintings look great because they are the truth, they are fair, yours, there is no narrow-mindness, no mannerism and no bluff”. Was not Boznańska a megalomaniac to write like that? Or maybe quite the opposite, a fully devoted to art, aware of her attainments artist having no reasons to mince? You can soon find out how a contemporary viewer perceives the art of that painter considered a genius in her time.
On October 24, the exhibition "Olga Boznańska" will be opened in the Main Building of the National Museum in Krakow. Not only will the exhibition bring together 173 paintings of the artist from Krakow, but also 20 works of her European contemporaries and those who inspired her.
"A painting of young Boznańska, who was thirty years old then, was first purchased by the National Museum in Krakow in 1896. It was the Portrait of Paul Nauen. It was also our institution that received the entire painter’s legacy brought from the studio in Paris after her death. In 1960, the Krakow’s Museum held the first, and largest so far, exhibition of her creations. It is therefore quite obvious that after over a half of a century, when 150 years is passing from Boznańska’s birth and 75 years after her death, we are to present viewers with a great exhibition of that artist” – says Zofia Gołubiew, Director, National Museum in Krakow.
The best works of the artist, which brought her worldwide fame and recognition in the history of art, will be displayed. We will see the most frequently reproduced and displayed paintings, and also those which have not been presented in Poland yet. The paintings come from, among others, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, B.G. Woźnicki National Arts Gallery of Lviv and Ca’Pesaro in Venice. Works of other painters from various collections, to illustrate Boznańska’s relationships with worldwide painting arts, will complement that choice.
Works of painters who inspired and fascinated the artist will be displayed. They include Diego Velázquez, Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour and James McNeill Whistler. The Museum has leased their works from the Louvre Museum andMusée d’Orsay in Paris, and from Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.
The exhibition will also display works of Polish painters associated with Paris, such as Anna Bilińska, Eugeniusz Zak, Józef Pankiewicz, Mela Muter and with Krakow, e.g. Jacek Malczewski. Thanks to such confrontation, we will see Olga Boznańska in the elite of masters.
Olga Boznańska (1865–1940) is one of the most unique and appreciated Polish artists in the world. Her works represent Polish art in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Born in Krakow, a daughter of a French mother and Polish, she also received her elementary artistic education there. She continued to study painting art in Munich. Encouraged by success in the world, she settled in Paris in 1898, the capital of the world of arts at that time. She developed her career as an international portraitist here.
“Clinic of paintings” The exhibition of the National Museum in Krakow will be accompanied by a conservator’s presentation, “Clinic of paintings” which will show, by examples and in an attractive manner, the procedure and effects of conservation of Boznańska’s paintings, including the famous Girl with Chrysanthemums. As a result of conservation works performed in the recent 15 years, each of 105 paintings of Olga Boznańska in the collection of the National Museum in Krakow can be safely displayed today. The artist’s technique was studied by non-invasive physical examination. However, the most spectacular effect of the conservators’ work was to restore the original, subtle, yet rich, colours of the paintings. After the conservation, the Girl with Chrysanthemums looks exactly as at the end of 19th century when it stood on the easel in the Munich study of Olga Boznańska.
Curators: Ewa Bobrowska PhD - Paris, Urszula Kozakowska-Zaucha - National Museum in Krakow Co-curator of Warsaw edition: Renata Higersberger - National Museum in Warsaw Exhibition layout: Anna Wisz, Magdalena Skórzewska Concept of the conservator’s presentation "Clinic of paintings”: Janusz Czop Coordinator: Beata Foremna