Ars Judaica

Jewish Art Collectors in Poland and the Works of Maksymilian Gierymski before World War II

Ars Judaica (2020), 16, (1), 51–67.

Abstract

From the end of the nineteenth century and up to the beginning of World War II, many of Maksymilian Gierymski’s (1846-1874) works were part of the collections of respected Jewish collectors, including Maksymilian Adam Oderfeld, Edward Rejcher, Stanisław Rotwand, Adolf Peretz, and Abe Gutnajer. They combined buying Polish art with providing financial support for many Polish cultural institutions. Thanks to these collectors the Polish public had better knowledge of Gierymski’s art. They bought his works at a time when the best examples of his oeuvre were abroad. 1939 was a tragic turning point for their activity. Collections were destroyed or stolen, including Gierymski’s work, and most of these items were not catalogued. Nevertheless, the collectors’ knowledge, passion, and expertise raised the bar for standards in Polish art collecting generally. The forgotten activity of Poland’s Jewish collectors is an essential part of the history of nineteenth-century Polish art.

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Author details

Krypczyk-De Barra, Aleksandra