London Museum Displays Modernist Polish Art

The William Morris Gallery in London is holding an exhibition of 120 works from the Young Poland period, including paintings, sketches, and photos.

The opening was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński, who emphasised that the Polish epoch at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the then-British period in art have many differences, but also some similarities.

“There is a degree of similarity, or at least a comparative study can be made between Young Poland, which is the style we are familiar with and the arts and crafts style, which had different goals due to Great Britain being then in a different situation. It was more about the emancipation of art, the pursuit of new horizons, and searching for unconventional values. Our country showed abstract or symbolic drawings related to Polish identity and Polish independence. This is how Young Poland is viewed,” Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said.

The goal of the exhibition is to set the Young Poland movement in a larger, international perspective and to highlight the significant aesthetic and philosophical ties between artists from the sphere of influence in the United Kingdom.

“The Young Poland Movement in 1890-1918 laid the aesthetic and spiritual foundations for Poland’s rebirth after 123 years of partitions. Culture, along with language, the Church and collective memory, allowed us as a nation to survive the darkness of the 19th century occupation. It was an expression of our national identity. Through culture, Poles marked their presence in Europe and our right to independence,” Mr Gliński said during the ceremonial opening.

Earlier, he emphasised that Polish art is more and more present and appreciated in Great Britain, as exemplified by the exhibition “Conversations with God: Matejko’s Copernicus”, which was presented at the National Gallery from May to the end of August and which, despite the restrictions related to the pandemic, watched over 62, 000 people.

He hinted that talks about displaying StanisławWyspiański’ss portraits at the National Gallery are ongoing.

“It’ss great to have all of these pieces in one place. Most British viewers, I believe, are unfamiliar with this type of work. It’ss a new experience for us. So it’ss fantastic to be able to exhibit what Poles are so acquainted with here in London. This is especially true given the large number of Poles who live in this area of London. The exhibition provides a chance to communicate what Poles already know in the UK with a British audience. It’ss about art, which may be a source of comfort during difficult times when you can’tt always roam freely. We have a bit of Poland in London, and I hope to see a piece of London in Poland soon”” Roisin Inglesby, Curator at the William Morris Gallery in London.

The paintings, which have never been seen outside Poland, will be on display until January 30th, 2022.