Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946)
Church. Cartoon for the right-hand side stained-glass window The Holy Sacrament in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Frib, 1900
Private collection – on deposit in the National Museum in Krakow

Angel with TobiasBlessing of Easter Food (Blessing of Easter Food at Bronowice)Casimir the Great. Design of the stained glass window for the chancel of the Krakow cathedralChurch. Cartoon for the right-hand side stained-glass window The Holy Sacrament in the CathedralChurch. Cartoon for the right-hand side stained-glass window The Holy Sacrament in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in FribEllenaiEverything One Owns (The Artist’s Family) Following the Angel – TriptychFrédéric ChopinFuneralHenry the Pious in the Battle of Legnica. Design of the stained glass window for the chancel of the Krakow cathedralHutsul FuneralIn Front of an Orthodox ChurchInsurgentLandscape from the Banks of the VistulaNike of the LegionsOn the Way (Pair of Horses) Polonia. Part of a design of the stained glass window The Vows of King John Casimir  for the cathedral in Lviv Portrait of Feliks JasieńskiProcession to WawelPythiaQueen Hedwig’s CrucifixReturn to the Homeland (Return Home) SarcophagiSelf-portrait in a White AttireSpring Thaw – The Vistula near ZawichostSt. Catherine and St. Barbara. Cartoon for the left-hand side stained glass window The Holy Sacrament in the Cathedral oSt. Stanislaus. Design of the stained glass window for the chancel of the Krakow cathedralStańczyk (Puppet Show; Puppets)The Foursome (The Foursome on the March, Deed of the Legions) Valley of the Vistula from ZwierzyniecView of Krakow from ZwierzyniecVita somnium breveWanda. Design of the stained glass window for the Krakow cathedralWindWinter LandscapeWinter Motif (“Castles on the Ice, Stars in the Water”, Winter Palace)

The age of Young Poland was a work of a group of neo-Romantics fascinated with Romantic poetry and historiosophy. The leading proponent of these ideas in literature was Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907), the most outstanding artistic personality of the turn of the centuries, playwright, poet, theatre reformer, set designer, painter, as well as a polychrome and stained glass artist. On show at the Gallery are his monumental stained glass designs for the chancels of Krakow and Lviv Cathedrals (unexecuted). The dramatic, expressive Polonia (1892–1893) that celebrates the Polish complex is a section of the Lviv design; its full version in oil is in the holding of the National Museum in Krakow. In 1899–1900, Wyspiański created disturbingly expressive images of deadly apparitions in King Casimir the Great, Saint Stanislas Szczepanowski and King Henry the Pious and in the lyrical, Art Nouveau Wanda for Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, which was undergoing renovation at the time. Integrated with Wyspiański’s poetic rhapsodies Casimir the Great, Henry the Pious and Boleslas the Bold and with the play The Legend, these figures incarnate a mystic belief in the existence of Ghost Kings of the nation, and the triumph of spirit over body. The large-scale designs are displayed on monumental, blue screens that resemble the walls of the cathedral apse. Other aspects of painting pull the viewer’s attention in A Winter Motif executed in pastel, in which the artist focused on a symbolic interpretation of the winter view. Inspiration by Jan Matejko’s painting, especially his Opening the Tomb of Casimir the Great(1869), the cult of Wawel Hill and Poland ’s history is also found in the oeuvre of Leon Wyczółkowski. His series Sarcophagi (1896) pictures a moss-grown, mysterious underground, where monarchs were buried, and Queen Hedwig’s Crucifix (1896) depicts a cross from the ambulatory of the Cathedral altar. Polish history is also referenced in the symbolic Stańczyk (Satirical Puppet Show, The Puppets, 1898). In it, Stańczyk, the jester at the court of the last kings of the Jagiellon dynasty, sits perturbed by the poor moral, social and political condition of the nation. The subject of the country’s past is summarised in A Procession to Wawel Hill (1907–1911) by Wacław Szymanowski (1859–1930), an expressively carved group of historic figures representing generations of Wawel inhabitants led by Fate. This design of a monumental sculptural and architectural project on Wawel Hill was never executed. Next to it are works by Wyspiański’s friend and artistic rival Józef Mehoffer (1869–1946), the winner of the 1895 competition for a stained glass window design for St. Nicolas Cathedral in Fribourg, Switzerland. The three cartons on view, which represent only a section of the monumental project which took 40 years to execute, illustrate the stylistic convention in which the artist started working on his "opus magnum" in the end of the 19th century. Another significant “Romantic” of Young Poland was Jacek Malczewski (1854–1929), a painter raised in deep reverence for the nation’s prophet poets, particularly Juliusz Słowacki. Poland and Polish fates were the leading subjects of his art, which is tangled up in rich, complicated and not fully comprehensible programme of literary and allegoric symbolism. Malczewski was often inspired by motifs from Juliusz Słowacki’s poem "Anhelli", for example in his beautiful Ellenai (1910), many a time depicting personifications of Polonia, like in Nike of the Polish Legions (1916) and Pytia (1917). He was an excellent portraitist. The likenesses of his sitters are typically accompanied by harpies, chimeras and fauns (Portrait of Feliks Jasieński). He created countless self-portraits, the most outstanding of them being the dignified Self-Portrait in White Dress (1914) and the elegant Self-Portrait With the Vistula in the Background (1901). Small, charmingly sketched studies of Krakow neighbourhood and the Zwierzyniec quarter illustrate his sensitivity to the beauty of landscape, so does the magnificent Vistula Landscape (1904) – a synthesis of the native landscape expressed through a sophisticated, muted colour scheme of golds and browns. “I have never restricted what is Polish to any pre-defined, narrow boundaries in my painting - Malczewski said. Poland – those fields, baulks, wayside willows, the mood of the country at sunrise... are all more Polish than Wawel Hill”. In the shadow of Wyspiański’s and Malczewski’s glorious oeuvre, an art stream developed that celebrated national subjects that grew out of the appreciation of the vitality of Polish people and delight with the fabulously colourful countryside and folk customs. The common people were believed to be custodians of some fundamental values and well-nigh mystic sources of shared identity, a matter of critical importance for the partitioned Polish nation. The folk cultures of the Krakow region, Tatra highlanders and the Hutsul country were considered distils of these concepts. Bronowice, a village just outside Krakow, became artists’ hub around 1890, when Włodzimierz Tetmajer (1862–1923) settled there after he married Anna Mikołajczykówna, a daughter of a local peasant. It was in his house that the wedding party of Lucjan Rydel and Jadwiga Mikołajczykówna took place in 1900, later described by Stanisław Wyspiański in his symbolic play The Wedding Party. Tetmajer painted landscapes and genre scenes from the life of Bronowice peasants, such as the huge Blessed Food (1897) illustrating the Easter custom of blessing foods on Good Saturday, or the lyrical family portrait All Their Possessions (1905). The theme of Bronowice was also explored by Stanisław Kuczborski (1881–1911): the locale of his Funeral (1904) is a yard in front of a cottage outside Krakow. Country topics came up in Young Poland sculpture as well, particularly in representations of animals; fantastic figures and creatures from folk tales and legends; portraits; genre scenes; and symbolic representations of the elements. An example is Wacław Szymanowski’s expressive Wind, or a narrative-type group entitled In Transit by Jan Góralczyk (1876 – after 1938). The freshly discovered Hutsul folk art, with its exotically colourful costumes and stringent customs stirred enormous excitement among artists. The generation of “Hutsulites” is represented by Fryderyk Pautsch (1877–1950), a vivid illustrator of the comings and goings of Hutsul villages, and the creator of the monumental Hutsul Funeral (1907). Urszula Kozakowska-Zaucha Wacława Milewska

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