News Foreign policy Ministry Travel to Poland
9 January 2014
Looted in Warsaw during German occupation, the works returned to Poland thanks to efforts by the Polish Embassy and Consulate in Vienna, as well as assistance provided by an Austrian history scholar.
“I am very pleased to hand over to the National Museum a collection of valuable drawings and prints by Polish artists. The works were recovered thanks to MFA efforts and the goodwill of foreigners,” Minister Radosław Sikorski said during the ceremony. “The collection was supposed to go on view in September 1939 as a jubilee exhibition of Ignacy Łopieński’s prints. I am very happy that the exposition can finally be staged in free, safe and successful Poland,” underscored the minister.
The MFA chief said a special thank you to Professor Bertrand Perz, a University of Vienna historian, who had helped retrieve the works.
National Museum Director Agnieszka Morawińska pointed out that Poland has regained exceptional pieces of art, which are associated with luminaries of Polish culture. “It’s a great moment and a great feeling to see that such fragile objects, created on paper that can be so easily destroyed, have not only survived but also made their way to the museum under quite remarkable circumstances. I wish to thank the minister and all his associates,” said the museum director.
Speaking on behalf of Ignacy Łopieński’s family, Wojciech Lipczuk, Anna Łopieńska-Lipczuk’s huband, thanked “all the diplomatic service staff who have made it possible to return to Poland a part of Ignacy Łopieński’s oeuvre.”
The recovered etchings and drawings were most likely looted after the Warsaw Uprising, and subsequently moved to Castle Fischhorn in Austria, where Germans used to keep works of art stolen across Europe. The majority of Polish collections at Fischhorn returned to Poland in April 1946 thanks to a recovery mission. However, some pieces were never repatriated, as they had been scattered in May 1945, i.e. prior to the arrival of Polish experts. The works recovered today are part of the collections that went missing at that time.
Below we publish the list of returned objects. The album by Alfred Schouppé, a renowned painter and illustrator who co-founded Warsaw’s Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, brings together 50 pencil drawings from 1860-90. Schouppé is considered one of the first illustrators of the Tatra mountains natural life. The works by the outstanding graphic artist Ignacy Łopieński were supposed to be part of his jubilee exhibition scheduled for the autumn of 1939. The outbreak of WWII made the event impossible. The recovered collection includes both preparatory drawings and graphic copies.
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