TVN attention. Police have arrested Edward Ocon’s painting “Dunzel”.

The police recently boasted of their success – preventing the sale of a huge painting for money Edward Okun, which the Nazis allegedly stole. But was Donzilla really on the list of casualties of the war? Many people have doubts. TVN’s Note reporters looked into the matter.

TVN attention. Painting by Edward Oko – “Dunzel”

In early spring this year, police announced that they had thwarted the sale of the painting allegedly stolen during the war. It is unique and original The work of Polish painter Eduard Okun is entitled “Donzell”.. -The first thought was that it was a complete misunderstanding, because while preparing the painting for auction, we gathered a lot of material around it – says Konrad Sokalsky of the Agra-Art Auction House.

What we feel as auction house employees has nothing to do with how the owner of this painting feels. Especially this, because he bought it earlier at an auction in Warsaw. It was a shock for him – confirms Sokalsky.

“Donzella” was added to its current owner’s collection in 2006. Until then, it had not been available to fans of Edward Ocon’s paintings for 75 years. The last time the public saw this wonderful painting in 1931 at the Zachuta Gallery. The new owner of “Donzella” began making the painting available to museums and galleries. It also allowed it to be taken abroad, to exhibitions co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Its ownership had not been questioned for 16 years before.

Painting by Edward Oko – “Dunzel” – History

The painting was painted in 1910. In 1911 Ocon exhibited it at an exhibition in Zachita. Then, it was bought by one of the most famous Polish collectors – Andrei Rotwand, and we know it was still in his collection in 1931, when it was shown at the Zachota Gallery – says art historian Monica Brill.

Donzilla is a portrait of the painter’s wife. Okuń was very fond of this painting. It is clear from the statements of the author’s family that he returned to the author’s family in 1939 – as counsel Marek Malisha points out.

– The owner, who auctioned the painting in 2006, wrote a statement and we’re sure who Okuniów is for him. We checked everything, verified that he is who he claims to be. The name of this owner is closely related to the Okuni family – says Monika Bryl.

“We’re not sure”

During investigation and clarification with the rightful owner of “Donzella”, the painting was deposited in the warehouses of the National Museum in Warsaw. Donzella will join those on display in the museum Photo recovery, the so-called casualties of war? Except for the prosecutor’s office and the police, no one believes it. Even the Ministry of Culture distances itself from the issue and rejects the actions of law enforcement agencies.

– We are not sure if this painting is a war loss. In such cases, the Ministry takes response measures, that is, informing law enforcement agencies, only when we are sure that its identity and origin are related to Polish war losses – says Tomasz Shliwski of the Ministerial Department for the Recovery of Cultural Property. He adds: – We believe that the measures that have been taken are premature.

– We do not have a document confirming that the body is still in the possession of Andre Rotwand. In turn, some historical accounts say that it is very likely that the property changed owner. Thus, it is possible that Andrzej Rotwand did not lose this object during World War II, and a different image of Okuń – says Tomasz Śliwiński.


Donzella was never and still is not on the ministerial list of items lost during the war. Most likely, the investigators determined that “Donzilla” was “Florentine.” However, according to experts, this Two different paintings by Edward Oko.

– In the lists of the famous antebellum collector Andrzej Rotwand there are many works by Edward Oko, including. The painting was titled “Florentine”, and the picture seized by the police always ran under the name “Donzilla”. He indicated in the lists of war losses that Mr. Rottwand made after the war that he had a painting called “Florentine”, and made no mention of the painting “Dunzel” – argues Marek Melisha.

– We, as the Ministry, could not find any documents confirming that “Florentynka” is the same as “Donzella”. It must be remembered that Eduardo Oko spent 20 years in Italy. The landscapes and portraits he painted were created there in great numbers and it is possible that we are talking about two completely different works of art, admits Tomas Śliwiński.

Edward Oko is a Polish young painter who is not known to the general public. Desirable and appreciated mainly by experts and professionals, especially for portraits and landscapes. The market value of Donzilla “arrested” by the police is about one million zlotys.

– In our recent history, we’ve had cases where the police came and took a picture of us to check if it was a war loss, and it was stamped with success before checking to see if it was a war loss, but then the picture was given to us. In this case, it is a mistake or incompetence of people who send such teams to check whether something is a loss of war – Konrad Sokalsky believes.

All materials on the TVN Note website.

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