Painting lost in WWII returns to Polish museum
PR dla Zagranicy
A 1872 painting lost in World War II and recently recovered by Polish experts and police was on Monday showcased to the public.
Culture and National Heritage Minister Piotr Gliński (centre); the director of the National Museum in Kraków, Andrzej Betlej (left); and the deputy provincial chief of police, Robert Strzelecki (right), during the ceremony in Kraków on Monday. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
The painting, entitled Winter in a Small Town, is the work of renowned Polish artist Maksymilian Gierymski (1846-1874). It has been recovered through the joint efforts of regional police and experts from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw.
The painting was presented in a high-profile ceremony at a gallery in the southern city of Kraków, a division of the city's National Museum.
The Gierymski work will return permanently to the National Museum in Kraków after several months of restoration work.
"For many years, we've been trying to locate and regain lost artwork in a systematic way," said Piotr Gliński, the minister for culture and national heritage and a deputy prime minister, while showcasing the painting on Monday.
He added that the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage operates a special department that employs specialists who are tasked with recovering lost artworks.
They work closely with police, prosecutors and diplomatic missions as well as law enforcement services and institutions in other countries, including the FBI, Gliński said.
An official list of Poland’s wartime losses comprises almost 63,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, handicrafts and furniture, according to Gliński.
Last year, police in Warsaw, working together with the culture ministry, recovered another Gierymski painting, entitled Polish Patrol of 1830.
Deputy Culture Minister Jarosław Sellin said in early December that Poland was recovering a work of art lost during World War II every five days on average.
A painting entitled Street with Castle Ruins by well-known 19th-century Polish artist Robert Śliwiński recently returned to Poland thanks to the help of the FBI. The painting went missing during World War II.
In late November, a painting by 19th-century Polish artist Henryk Siemiradzki entitled The Sword Dance was withdrawn from an auction at Sotheby’s in London at the last minute, following a request from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union plundered a huge amount of art and valuable objects when they occupied Poland during World War II.