Without these works, it is impossible to fully appreciate the achievements of Polish art in the twentieth century. The Łukaszowie family business originates in Poland

After 83 years, thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the series of seven paintings of the Brothers of St. Peter was able. Łukasz and four Mieczysław Szymański textiles. An agreement was signed at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, according to which the works of the Łukaszowie family will be included in the collection of the Museum of Polish History.

“Paintings and textiles are among the most famous works of art created in the Second Republic of Poland, and their value to Polish culture is inestimable. They constitute a unique collection of perfectly preserved works from the Polish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, by artists belonging to Leaders of the art scene in the Second Polish Republic”

– said the professor. Andrzej Szczerski.

When asked what is unique about this collection, he noted that it “was created at the special request of the Polish government as decoration for the Hall of Honor of the Polish Pavilion at the World’s Fair.” “The artists gathered in the art group, the Brotherhood of St. Luke, created an original style, in reference to Renaissance and Baroque paintings, as well as to the historical painting techniques they wanted to recreate. The artists painted portraits together, following the example of medieval painting guilds, Using a realistic form subject to the rhythmic and ornamental style, thus contesting their contemporary abstraction or expressive colours. They believed they had created a unique art form that represented an internationally distinct Polish school of painting” Art historian noted.

As he said, “The collection represents both the artistic high class and offers an innovative interpretation of Poland’s history, prepared especially for the world and audiences of New York.” “The photographs showed the historical role of Poland as a country with a thousand-year history, a bastion of Christianity, and a haven of religious tolerance, but also a pioneer of modern changes during the Enlightenment, embodied in the introduction of the Constitution. On May 3, on the other hand, historical tapestries emphasized the importance of weaving technology. These are for Polish history. Applied art, as well as its revival and mastery in the times of the Second Polish Republic “ – The professor confirmed. Shchersky.

He assessed that the return of these works to the country is “an event of paramount importance – thanks to him, first-class works of art return to Poland, without which it is impossible to appreciate the artistic achievements of Polish art” of the 20th century”.

“Their absence represented a painful deficiency for Polish museums, and did not allow a full analysis of the cultural heritage of the times of the Second Polish Republic and the peculiarity of Polish modernity. Memory of diversity and artistic class of Polish art of the last century “

– pointed out.


The New York World’s Fair, inaugurated by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 30, 1939, was to present a vision of social progress and technology development under the slogan “The World of Tomorrow”. The outbreak of World War II made it the last chord in the interwar period. After the exhibition ended, and due to the ongoing war in Europe, it was decided to store the works from the Polish pavilion in the USA. After the end of the war, paintings and four textiles from Mieczysław Szymański were at the disposal of Stefan Röpp, Commissioner-General of the Polish Pavilion, who finally handed over the entire collection to Le Moyen’s American College in Syracuse.

The idea of ​​returning the photos to Poland has been around for many years in public debate and in the media. However, only in recent years, after talks with Le Moyne College, was it possible to reach a common position. Provides for the transfer of the entire group to Poland. Fraternal portraits of St. Mark’s Łukasza and Mieczysław Szymański tapestries will be included in the collection of the Polish History Museum as part of the permanent exhibition.

For years, Le Moyne College has been concerned with the protection and preservation of Polish businesses. They have been shown in the Noreen Reale Falcone Library since the building opened in 1981, before that, from 1958, they were housed in the college’s original library on the first floor of Grewen Hall. According to the agreement, paintings and textiles will be delivered to Poland this summer – within 90 days of signing the agreement.

The Polish pavilion for the 1939 New York World’s Fair was built at an astonishing pace – in less than a year and a half. The number of the exhibition is more than 11 thousand. objects, to show pride in the cultural and economic achievements of the Second Polish Republic, but also to remember the most important events in Polish history.

One of the most interesting elements of the Polish Pavilion’s honorary hall program was a series of seven paintings showing carefully selected scenes from Poland’s history, showing its contribution to the development of European culture, Christianity, tolerance and constitutionalism.

The pictures created a kind of historical and patriotic panorama, depicting important events in Polish history: “The meeting of Boleslav the Brave with Otto III at the tomb of St. Adalbert (1000)”, “Lithuanian acceptance of Christianity (1386)”, “Granting the privilege of Jedlensko-Kraków (1430)” , “Lublin Confederation (1569)”, “Resolution of the Warsaw Confederation on Religious Freedom (1573)”, “Relief of Vienna (1683)” and “Constitution of May 3 (1791)”.

In 1938, the Polish government entrusted this demanding and timely order to a group of artists, students of the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw, members of the Brotherhood of St. luke. It was built within a few months in Villa Kazimierz in Tadeusz Pruszkowski. Each of the paintings was a team work. It was painted under the supervision of Prof. Tadeusz Prochkowski: Anthony Michalak, Boleslav Sipes, Bernard Friedrichiak, Jan Gottard, Alexander Gordzigowski, Elias Kanarek, Jeremy Kubicki, Stefan Polowski, Janusz Podowski and Jan Zamoyski.

The course program was prepared by a scientific committee made up of scientists headed by Prof. Oscar Hallecki. Under his auspices, an in-depth inquiry was also made, as a result of which historians helped painters to recreate the colors and types of materials used in costumes and interiors of past eras. Thanks to the many working hours each day, we were able to meet the strict deadline. Six months later, on December 7, 1938, the results were presented to the public at the headquarters of the Institute of Propaganda Art in Warsaw.

The decoration of the hall of honor of the Polish Pavilion was supplemented by 4 tapestries titled Jan III Sobieski according to a design by Mieczysław Szymański, made under the supervision of Maria omnicka-Bujakowa by a team of embroiderers from the “Inicjatywa” cooperative in Warsaw.

German aggression in September 1939 deprived the Polish wing of funding. Commissioner General of the Polish Exhibition, A. Stefan Robb sold some equipment. The largest number of objects found their way into the collection of the Polish Museum in Chicago. On the other hand, a set of seven Łukaszowców paintings and four canvases according to Szymański’s design has been deposited at Jesuit University Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, where it has been presented since 1958 in the local library, initially at Grewen Hall, and from 1981 – in the library Noreen Reale Falcon.


Congregation of the Brethren of St. Łukasza is an art group founded in 1925, focused on traditional figurative painting, working on the model of a medieval painters guild. She used traditional painting techniques, referring to Dutch and Italian painting of the 16th and 17th centuries. Founded by Prof. Tadeusz Pruszkowski and his students, who created mainly historical compositions, genres and biblical scenes. They stood in opposition to the then prevailing avant-garde trends in art. Members of the Society of St. ukasza are: Bolesław Cybis, Jan Gotard, Aleksander Jędrzejewski, Eliasz Kanarek, Edward Kokoszko, Antoni Michalak, Jan Podoski, Mieczysław Schulz, Czesław Wdwiszewski, Jan Wydra, Jan Zamoyski. Then they were joined by: Bernard Friedrichiak, Jeremy Kubicki, and Stefan Polowski.

The body of works that ended up at Le Moyne College finds no parallels in the national collections in terms of coherent composition and ideological programme. It is also a valuable record of the creative practice of one of the most interesting Polish art collections of the interwar period. Łukaszowców’s paintings are also an invaluable testament to the involvement of the art and science community in promoting Poland during the Second Polish Republic, supported by the generous patronage of state authorities.

Mieczysław Szymański is a Polish painter and textile designer born at the beginning of the 20th century, a student of the professor. Tadeusz Proshkovsky. Best known for his large canvas made for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1937, he was awarded the Grand Prix. Interestingly, it was this tapestry that was then cut into four separate scenes (“Allegory of Victory”, “The King with Emperor Leopold after the Victory of Vienna”, “The King with Marisica surrounded by court ladies”, “The Angel”) and found itself two years later At the Polish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York.

Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP

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