exhibitions & events:
The collections of the Graphics Department consist of over 14 thousand exhibits grouped in several separate collections, such as the collection of the past and contemporary Polish graphics, foreign graphics, exlibres and utilitarian graphics, a collection of drawings and monotypes, as well as a collection of matrixes.
The beginnings of the graphic collections go back to the foundation of the Municipal Museum in 1923. Works were obtained on the way of purchases and donations, mainly from the artists presenting their exhibitions in the Museum. Before the outbreak of World War Two, graphic collections comprised of 760 items, mostly dominated by Polish modern graphics representing nearly all of the then existing artistic environments. A significant part of the collections was destroyed during the war. In postwar years, the process of gathering of graphic works and drawings was concentrated around the idea of creating a collection of contemporary Polish graphics. Besides that, the already existing collections of works of the artists creating in earlier periods as well as the works of the Bydgoszcz artists were being complimented. Graphic collections remained for a long time a part of the Department of Art. A separate department was set up as late as 1982.
In the interwar period The Collection of the Polish Graphics of the past (18th- 19th c.) was a small complex of works, mostly destroyed in 1945, that was being complimented in a smaller extent as compared with other graphic collections. In its present form (over 400 items) it does not fully depict the development in the graphic art of that time; however, to some extent, it manages to show the continuity of its evolution. The collection is comprised of works of such Polish graphic artists as Jan Piotr Norblin, Michał Płoński, Aleksander Orłowski and Daniel Chodowiecki. Within those rather small groups of prints, however, we can find exceptional items, such as the rare lithographs by Orłowski, or The basket weaver – thought to be Płoński’s best etched print.
The 19th c. graphics is represented with the works of Jan Zachariasz Frey and the plates from lithographic plants from Warsaw, Lvov and Vilnius made by such artists as Jan Feliks Piwarski, Maksymilian Fajans, Adolf Pecq, Adam Dzwonkowski, Piotr Piller and Józef Oziębłowski. Woodcut reproductions typical of the second half of the 19th c. is represented with, for instance, Jan Matejko’s Album (publ. in 1876). The more interesting exhibits include etched prints from the Album of Kajetan Wincenty Kielisiński (1836-1843) and colourful litographs by Walery Eljsz Radzikowski from The Polish Clothing cycle from 1862.
After the establishment of the Municipal Museum The Collection of the Polish Modern Graphics (1900-1939) used to be one of the most dynamically developing collections. Significantly diminished as a result of the war, it was gradually restored with the works of graphic artists previously represented in the collections. The present collection (over 800 items) includes the works of the dominating graphic environments of Cracow and Warsaw, as well as some smaller centres that experienced a more dynamic development in the field of graphic arts – Poznań, Lvov and Vilnius, and partly also the works of Polish artists active in Paris. There is a group of collections devoted to the works of particular authors, e.g. Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski, Tadeusz Kulisiewicz, Władysław Skoczylas and Stefan Mrożewski. The works of innovative artists, on the other hand, are represented in a smaller extent, and include the works of such authors as – Józef Mehoffer, Jan Stanisławski, Wojciech Weiss and Józef Pankiewicz. The collection includes the characteristic of that period graphic portfolios, both collective (e.g. Melpomena Portfolio from 1904, The Portfolios of The Polish Doctors and Naturalists Convention from 1911 and 1933) and individual (e.g. Odo Dobrowolski, Lvov 1914-1915, Jan Gumowski, Views of Cracow from 1926). The collection acquaints the viewers with the tendencies in the graphic arts of that time and introduces the profiles of outstanding artists.
The Collection of the Polish Contemporary Graphics (after 1945) is the broadest and most representative collection of graphic arts of the Bydgoszcz Museum. It documents the development of this field of art in all the important artistic centres, as well as presents the works of the greatest and recognised artists. The collection began to be systematically created starting from the 1950’s as a continuation of the Museum prewar plan to produce the Polish contemporary art collection. The collection’s undenied value is the fact that it was and still is being created in the normal course, most often through purchasing works directly from their authors, as a result of selecting works in artists’ studios or during all-Polish collective and individual exhibitions. The criterion of selection of numerous graphic works was the artists’ participation in prestigious ex hibitions, e.g. these are the works presented and awarded during the successive Biennale of Graphics in Cracow, International Biennale of Graphics in Cracow, and, finally, International Triennial of Graphics in Cracow. The collection has been significantly broadened as a result of donations made by artists themselves, often constituting the legacy or its part of, for instance, Ewa Śliwińska (graphics, drawing, design works, matrixes), Halina Chrostowska (graphics, drawing) and Józef Pakulski (graphics).
Moreover, the collections consist of a dozen or so author collections of the artists whose works already made the history in the field of Polish contemporary graphics, for instance, Józef Gielniak, Stanisław Fijałkowski, Zbigniew Lutomski, Leszek Rózga, Konrad Srzednicki, Mieczysław Wejman and Ryszard Gieryszewski. The authors whose works are represented in a smaller extent include e.g. Henryk Stażewski, Jerzy Panek, Jerzy Grabowski, Jan Lebenstein, Andrzej Pietsch and Izabella Gustowska. The collection also presents the works of the recognized graphic artists from the middle and the youngest generation, such as Andrzej M. Bartczak, Stanisław Wejman, Ryszard Grazd, Jacek Sroka, Marek Jaromski, Andrzej Bobrowski, Mirosław Pawłowski, Jerzy Jędrysiak, Janusz Akermann, Bogdan Miga and Marta Bożyk.
An important group within this collection are the works of artists active in Bydgoszcz (see The collection of the Bydgoszcz artists) and in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian region, constituting a significant contribution to the research of regional art. This collection of the Bydgoszcz Museum emerged as a result of the contact maintained between artists (association and exhibition activities, open airs, etc.). A broad group of works is the one presenting the works of artists from Toruń, e.g. Stanisław Borysowski, Zygmunt Kotlarczyk, Barbara Narębska-Dębska, Krystyna Szalewska, Teresa Jakubowska, Bogdan Przybyliński, Mirosław Piotrowski, Leszek Kiljański, Jan Baczyński, Piotr Gojowy and Marek Basiul. The collection also represents the artists from some smaller centres, such as Inowrocław (Stanisław Łuczak, Henryk Czaman) and Włocławek (Leon Płoszay).
At present, the collection of contemporary graphics consists of several thousand individual prints, the result of the work of over 300 artists using different stylistic forms and applying various techniques, representatives of different trends and tendencies in the Polish graphic arts. The resources of this collection allow for the presentation of the most significant achievements in the Polish graphics in the form of large retrospective exhibitions.
The Collection of Drawings, constituting a part of the collection of Polish arts of the Bydgoszcz Musuem, is a complementation of the resources of paintings and graphics of the artists represented with the works of e.g. Tymon Niesiołowski, Jan Cybis and Edward Dwurnik. Analogical criteria have been applied in relation to the collections of artists from Bydgoszcz as well as foreign graphics.
Within this collection, a special attention should be paid to the drawings by such outstanding Polish painters as, for instance, Piotr Michałowski, Jan Matejko and Maksymilian Antoni Piotrowski, an artist related with Bydgoszcz. The group of contemporary drawings is comprised of some larger groups of works by Tymon Niesiołowski, Jan Cybis, Stanisław Brzęczkowski, Ewa Śliwińska, Halina Chrostowska and Edward Dwurnik. The Collection of the Bydgoszcz Artists constitute the works of the local artists. This a part of collections of modern graphics, drawings, utility graphics, and exlibres. The period of Poland’s twenty years of independence after World War One is represented by the graphic works of Karol Mondral, Franciszek Konitzer and Stefan Szmaj, often, due to themes presented by them, complimenting Bydgoszcz iconography. A larger collection of graphics and drawings is the collection of Stanisław Brzęczkowski’s works. As far as drawings go, the most interesting groups are those of individual and design works by the sculptors – Teodor Gajewski and Piotr Triebler, and the painters – Franciszek Gajewski and Jerzy Rupniewski. Among the artists producing after 1945, a graphic collection that is well represented consists of the works by Stanisław Brzęczkowski, Bronisław Z. Nowicki, Anna Sroczanka, Andrzej Nowacki, Teodor Krupski, Zdzisław Nowak – Czarny, Leon Romanow, Łukasz Płotkowski, Jacek Soliński, Ewa Gordon and Piotr Gojowy, and a graphic collection of Ignacy Bulla and Stanisław Stasiulewicz.
The Collection of Exlibres consists of exlibres of the Polish artists active in the 20th c. and contemporarily, most often constituting a complementation of their works within artistic graphics. The larger collections include the works by Wojciech Jakubowski, Wiktor Langner and Bronisław J. Tomecki, presenting some more important phenomena within the field of graphics. The exlibres from the period of Poland’s twenty years of independence after World War One, are represented by a larger collection of works of Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski and Tadeusz Cieślewski, Jr. Moreover, the collection includes the works of such Bydgoszcz artists as Stanisław Brzęczkowski, Bronisław Z. Nowicki, Łukasz Płotkowski and Piotr Gojowy.
The Museum’s achievements in relation to its exlibris collections were brought closer to the public with the exhibition titled From Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski to Wojciech Jakubowski (2008), combined with a contest to select the best exlibris of the Bydgoszcz Museum, as a result of which the Department of Graphics was enriched with numerous exlibres handed over to the Museum as donations by authors and collectors.
The Collection of Utility Graphics is of a complimentary nature, mainly concentrates the works of the artists who practice both artistic and utilitarian graphic arts. An isolated collection of utility graphics has been composed as a result of donations. It encompasses a variety of items belonging to this field of art, both designs and realizations, products of the local and non-local Polish artists. The interesting groups of works include those by Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski, Stanisław Brzęczkowski and Ewa Śliwińska (e.g. book graphics, posters and design works).
Within this collection we find the works of utility graphics related with the artistic environment of Bydgoszcz, constituting the artistic accomplishment of the local artists, and, at the same time, providing documentation of the so-called “social life.” Within the large collection of posters, the works that could be distinguished are those by the artists from Bydgoszcz from the 1960’s-80’s, as well as the donation made by a Bydgoszcz collector, Zbigniew Gierszewski (1999, 2000).
In recent years, the collection has been widened with the works of Bronisław Z. Nowicki (2006) and Zdzisław Nowak-Czarny (2010). The Collection of Matrixes consists of matrixes (woodblocks, boards, metal plates, linoleum and plaster matrixes) of the groups of graphic prints of such artists as: Ewa Śliwińska, Stanisław Brzęczkowski, Józef Pieniążek, Franciszek Konitzer, as well as some single prints of other artists. In recent years, the collection has been broadened with the matrixes of Bronisław Z. Nowicki (2006) and Łukasz Płotkowski (2010).
The collection of matrixes, constituting an interesting addition to graphic exhibitions, is constantly being complimented with contemporary items, including the ones obtained from the exhibition titled Unity in multitude. The Polish wood engraving art after the year 1900. (2009) prepared by the outstanding Cracovian graphic artists – Zbigniew Lutomski and Ryszard Grazda.
The Collection of Foreign Graphics is represented mainly with the works from the Museum’s prewar resources. The collection was significantly enlarged in 1958, due to receiving by the Museum a donation in the form of a graphic collection from a collector, Czesław Knozowski. The collection mainly comprises of the works of German, French and English artists from the 16th – 20th c. Besides some single prints, it also includes the whole portfolios and albums, like, for instance, copperplates from the portfolio titled Epistole et Evangelii (...) (publ. by N. Misserini, Venice, 1613), etched prints of B. Pinelli to Rollin Istoria Romana edition (publ. in Rome, 1816), as well as a portfolio of lithographs Die laendlichen Wohnsitze Schloesser u. Residenzen Ritterschaftlichen Grundbesitzer in der Preussichen Monarchie (publ. A. Duncker, Berlin, ca. 1880).
An interesting collection of prints is a group of works of German artists from the turn of the 19th and 20th c., and a collection of Japanese woodcuts, including those by Utagawa Hiroshige. What deserves special attention, are the graphic and drawing prints by Walter Leistikow, a Bydgoszcz citizen, a follower of Art Nouveau in Berlin, and a number of drawings of the artists related with Bydgoszcz and its regions – Paul Berthold Jaekel and Kurt Hubertus von Paesler. The valuable items of this collection include the works of the Bydgoszcz iconography.
In the oncoming years, it is our intention to continue the exhibition and publishing activities related to collecting and publicizing our graphic collections, especially in relation to the most important collections of the Polish graphics of the 20th c., and contemporary Polish graphics. As a result of cooperation with the International Print Triennal Society in Cracow, initiated with an exhibition and a scientific session titled Unity in Multitude. The Polish wood engraving art after the year 1900 (2009), it is planned to arrange successive editions of exhibitions depicting the history and contemporaneity of the fundamental graphic techniques (metal techniques, flat printing, digital techniques with multimedia graphics). Another theme cycle will include the exhibitions of graphic artists-teachers related with art academies, initiated by the graphic artists from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. What has also been planned, are the shows and monographic exhibitions of the recognized Polish graphic artists such as Marek Jaromski and Andrzej Bobrowski, and also of the artist creating his works outside Poland - Leszek Wyczółkowski.