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The exhibition Polish National Styles 1890–1918 opens the series called 4 x Modernity comprising four parts concerning original moderniza-tion patterns in Polish art, design and architec-ture of the 20th and 21st c.
Its theme is related to the debate over the national style which has been on-going in Europe (particularly Central-Eastern Europe) since 1900, an idea understood as a stylistically distinguishable form expressing the uniqueness of a culture of a given nation. The origins of such a form can be traced to regional varieties of historical styles, as well as folklore, as an attempt to distinguish it from late historicism or Art Nouveau.
The exhibition consists of five parts. The first one displays examples of Polish national cos-tume of the second half of the 19th c. The sec-ond one focuses on the Zakopane style, while the third portrays the search of the national form inspired by folklore art from the region of Hutsulshchyna. The next part includes designs made by artists promoting the idea of a national style related to the Polish Applied Arts Society and the Krakow Workshops. In the end, the significance of the the Exhibition of Architecture and Interiors in a Garden Setting held in Krakow in 1912 was emphasized along with the connection between the national form and the idea of Esperanto language developed in Poland which was meant to serve the purpose of international communication by emphasiz-ing both universal and national content.