Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński builds his collection with increasing awareness. It is based not only on the most famous names such as Picasso, Léger, Chagall, Miró, Dali, Le Corbusier, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat and Banksy, but also on those that are not in the public consciousness. That is why in the exhibition we present works by well-known, as well as less well-known, but equally remarkable artists – says Anna Budzak, curator of the exhibition “Modern Art from the Collection of Lubomirsky Princes”, which can be seen in the Chapsky Pavilion of the National Museum in Krakow until 16 October.
MHP: Do museums often use private collections?
Anna Budzak: The National Museum in Krakow has presented private collections several times. In recent years we have been able to see collections of Polish paintings by Krzysztof Musiał and Andrzej Starmach, as well as international art from the collections of Rafał Jabłonka. It is always an extraordinary experience for the curators who can enter the private rooms of the owners and see what they are hiding. In this way, we get acquainted with these collections and in the future, we can ask you to borrow some works for the individual and thematic exhibitions that we have prepared. As has been the case recently with the display of paintings by Jacek Malczewski.
MHP: Did Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński willingly make his collections available?
Anna Budzak: Yes with pleasure. We already have two medieval stained-glass windows from the Lubomirski family’s collection on a permanent basis in the Artistic Craft Gallery, so their collections are mainly associated with ancient art. Now it turns out that Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński is also involved in contemporary art, both European and American. His interests also include Polish art, but while planning this exhibition, I decided to show his world-class art.
MHP: How did Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński build his collection?
Anna Budzak: Consciously more and more. It is based not only on the most famous names such as Picasso, Léger, Chagall, Miró, Dali, Le Corbusier, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat and Banksy, but also on those that are not in the public consciousness. That is why at the exhibition we present the works of artists known to all, as well as lesser known, but equally distinguished.
A good example is the painting of the Danish painter Per Arnoldi, which depicts two colored circles. I included it in the context of geometric abstraction, although the artist himself refrains from such a classification. But I did so to narrate this exhibition, showing this work together with the works of Victor Vasarely. This is one of the pearls in this collection, as is Steve Kaufman’s work for Marilyn Monroe. It is located near the “Skull” – a painting by one of the most famous artists of our time, that is, Damien Hirst. These examples show how the collector’s taste for Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński evolves, and how he moves more freely between the latest trends in art. It’s not that easy as these trends change rapidly and the popularity of some artists doesn’t always last.
MHP: What works might also catch the attention of exhibition visitors?
Anna Budzak: For the work of artists from the Cobra group who started their activities after World War II. The name of the group comes from the capitals in which its members lived – Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. It included not only painters, but also sculptors, artists, and writers. They were fascinated by surrealism, Picasso’s work painted on primitive art, inspired by authentic African masks. In the gallery you can see the mask that Karel Appel used in his work. These are not very well known things either, but they have their place in art history and are appreciated by Mr. Jean.
MHP: He appreciates furniture, too. What examples of collectors’ design interests can we see in the gallery?
Anna Budzak: We can see the chaise longue and armchair designed by Le Corbusier. They are excellent examples of interwar modernity. Between them were placed the dishes of Picasso, who also dealt with ceramics. There’s also a very interesting Salvador Dali medal and a drawing of Cambell’s Soup that Andy Warhol adorns a book dedicated to him.
MHP: Did the family of the owner of these pieces have a tradition of collecting art in the past?
Anna Budzak: naturally. It comes from the traditions of aristocratic families aware of the value of art. The best example is the private collection of Isabella Czartoriska, without which our museum would not have “Lady with Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci and many other invaluable works. Besides, many museum collections have been created thanks to the generosity of donors who have made their works available to the general public. Carolina Lankoronska was also one of these wonderful donors. Thanks to her gift, the Wawel Royal Castle and the Royal Castle in Warsaw were enriched. Jan Lubomirski-Lankoroński upholds these traditions.
MHP: His works are on display in the Józef Czapski stand. Are there connections between the sponsor of this place and the works shown here?
Anna Budzak: Josef Chapsky as a young man belonging to a group of capists – artists who had studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow before the war – left for Paris, mired in creative frenzy. He ran around galleries, museums, and studios, absorbing art. He did not always agree with new trends, sometimes even criticize them. However, even though he chose his own path, he had always been deeply interested in her. That’s why we decided that this place is best suited to display the work of these artists.
Interviewed by Magda Huzarska Zumik