“Village Girl” Wawel | olur.pl

“Góralka / Yellow Scarf Village Girl” by Leon Wyczółkowski is a pastel with the loss of our war. Employees of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage found him and returned him to Vavel. We are now showcasing it at the Wyczółkowski Found exhibition, which will be open until August 18, 2022, says Agnieszka Janczyk, the exhibition’s curator.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: Where did the name of the exhibition “Wyczółkowski Found” come from?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
This is due to the most important painting we present, Leon Wyczółkowski’s “Góralka / Yellow Veiled Village Girl”. This is a pastel with our war losses. He was found by officials from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and brought back to Wavel in December 2021.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: What happened to this painting?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
It was founded in 1900 and was soon purchased for Leon Pinińsky’s Lviv collection. We know this because in 1901 the work was exhibited as his property at the exhibition “Stuka” of the Polish Artists’ Society in Lviv. The pastel arrived in Krakow and Wavel in 1920, along with other items from the collector. In 1931, Piniński founded the Wawel Foundation for them. Leona clock. Piniński wants to give Wawel a part of the collection, which includes “Village Girl”. The work is kept in the warehouse because it is very delicate pastel color on paper. We do not know what happened to him after the outbreak of World War II. There is no record of his wartime or post-war destiny. The painting appeared on the art market in 1999, but unfortunately was not identified at the time. When re-auctioned in 2021, officials from the Department of Cultural Heritage and War Loss Abroad of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage recognized it as a Wavel loss.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: What is so special about this pastel?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
The main role is played by the emotional model Wyczółkowski. The artist presented the young, thoughtful girl in a national dress and a characteristic yellow scarf tied behind her head. While looking at the pastel, her dress led me to the hint that the girl suggested by the first part of the wrong title in the auction house was not a mountaineer. The girl is from a village near Krakow, most likely from Bronovice. Her unusual posture attracts attention. We are accustomed to portraits of models sitting or standing, but here the girl puts her hands on a piece of furniture and bends a lot. The composition of the painting is also interesting, the figure is rectangular, which makes this portrait very fresh and dynamic at the same time, because the artist used the girl’s head sliding to the right. Thus, her pink and red patterned black kaftan was placed inside, and in the original, of course, decorated with beads or embroidery.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: There is a portrait of Leon Piniński in the exhibition next to the “Village Girl”. Who was he?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
He was a politician, a lawyer and a collector, an extraordinary man, about whom we can read in numerous articles about him in the press. It is important for us that he is very involved in the work of Wawel. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, as governor of Galicia, he recaptured the fortress from the Austrian army. When the army began to leave its walls in 1905, Piniński wrote a text dedicated to Wales, in which he tried to describe the future functions of the fortress. This was due to his desire to decorate the interior. This intention was expressed by Pininsky in 1909, and the press of that time also raised this issue. At that time, he had already stated that he wanted to donate part of the collection to Vavel.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: Wyczółkowski revived the image of Piniński in 1899.
Agnieszka Janczyk:
This image is a really beautiful work with a very unusual canvas base, painted in pastel colors on the artist. As for Pinisky’s preferences, he was interested not only in old art, but also in contemporary artists. He owned works by artists associated with Julian Fałat, Theodor Axentowicz, and Lviv, such as Włodzimierz Błocki. And, of course, Leon Wyczółkowski.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: The exhibition also features a painting by this artist depicting the Tatra landscape. Where did this choice come from?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
This work by Wyczółkowski also belonged to Pininsky’s collection. Founded in 1905, the artist admired the Tatra Mountains and repeatedly worked on themes.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: What about Vavel’s speeches?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
Similarly, the artist often used the Wawel themes we present here. He used various techniques. These are both paintings and drawings and graphics. By choosing Vavel’s ideas for the exhibition, I wanted to emphasize the artist’s interests, as well as refer to Piniński’s work in Wavel. In addition to donating part of his collection to Wavel, he also served on committees that advised Adolf Shishko-Bohus, the chief conservative of Vavel Hill, whom he did not always agree with. This was the time when Ignacy Mościcki came to the castle. So I decided to show among others that the bedroom of the President of the Republic of Poland, designed by Vyczółkowski, was arranged especially for the arrival in the autumn of 1927.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: The exhibition also includes views of the backyard.
Agnieszka Janczyk:
This, in turn, is Wyczółkowski’s favorite Wawel theme. If visitors to this exhibition take a good look at the works and go out into the yard, they will see that not everything is designed in accordance with the actual situation of the artist. For example, in the watercolor showing the bay window, the artist added a fragment of the frieze that has not yet arrived. The exhibition also includes two paintings related to the Vavel Cathedral. Pastel logic and so-called show is the result of Queen Jadwiga’s chest and the artist’s interest in monuments from the cathedral treasury. When looking at this painting, it is worth noting how skillfully it shows all the details, materials and embroidery. Next to it is the tombstone of Anna Jagiello in the Sigismund Chapel with watercolors.

Magda Huzarska-Szumiec: Back to the name of the exhibition: Is there a chance to find other works by Leon Wyczółkowski?
Agnieszka Janczyk:
Last year, we launched a program on Wavel War casualties. We will try, for example, to find Wyczółkowski’s works in the pre-war collections of the Castle Council and lost during the war.

Interviewer: Magda Huzarska-Szumiec

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