The move was revealed in a press communique on Wednesday afternoon, and it comes in the wake of a series of disagreements between the National Museum in Krakow and the Foundation of the Czartoryski Princes.
“This decision has been made in order to improve the functioning of the Foundation of the Czartoryski Princes and to assure the correct collaboration with the National Museum in Krakow,” the Prince expressed in an official letter, citing that the decision had been taken together with the Council of the Foundation.
The Czartoryski Museum, which enjoys considerable international prestige, not least due to its ownership of Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (pictured above), was appropriated by the state during the communist era.
In 1991, Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski, who grew up in exile in Spain, won the collections back in a landmark court case. However, it was agreed that the museum would be co-administered by the Krakow branch of the National Museum, echoing the arrangement of the Cold War era.
Count Adam Zamoyski, hitherto Chairman of the Board, and first cousin of Czartoryski, is a distinguished historian of Central Europe. Like his cousin, he grew up in exile, but friction emerged in Krakow over plans to modernise the museum, as well as the question of the loan of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.
Although loans were ultimately approved by the Ministry of Culture, many in the Polish art world spoke out against this year’s tour of the masterpiece, a programme which takes in Madrid, Berlin and London.
Rounding off Wednesday’s communique, Czartoryski expressed “hope” that “thanks to this decision, the Foundation will continue the mission of the Princes Czartoryski Museum and Library, initiated by his ancestors in the service of the Nation.”
Meanwhile, work is set to continue at the Czartoryski Museum, where a major revamp is under way, as had initially been envisioned by Adam Zamoyski.
The new chairman of the board is Olga Jaros who has co-curated a number of exhibitions for the National Museum.
The decision was made in collaboration with the Council, which includes a number of leading art historians and members of the Czartoryski clan. (nh/jb)
Editor’s note (18.07.2011):
Adam Zamoyski was unavailable for comment when this article was initially published. However, he has since told thenews.pl that most of the art historians on the Foundation’s council were ejected by Czartoryski prior to last week’s change of direction.
According to Zamoyski, the following had been dismissed from the Council one day before the decision was made:
Prof. Andrzej Rottermund – Director of the Royal Castle in Warsaw
Prof. Andrzej Ciechanowiecki
Prof. Maria Poprzecka – Professor of Art History at the University of Warsaw, former president of Association of Polish Art Historians
Prof. Zdzislaw Pietrzyk – Director of the Jagiellonian Library