The Masterpieces of August Zamoyski. Conservation Work
17 May – 25 August 2019
Display organized as part of task
Zamoyski: Rescued Works. Showcase of the Collection Acquired by the National Museum in Warsaw and Display of Conservation Work
The presented collection of sculptures by August Zamoyski (1893 Jabłoń – 1970 Saint-Clar-de-Rivière) was acquired by the National Museum in Warsaw in 2019. This is a unique collection of outstanding works created by one of the finest Polish sculptors of the twentieth century, which represents all stages of the artist’s oeuvre.
The collection’s fate reflects the turbulent biography of its author: Zamoyski liked to travel and frequently moved houses, so the works were relocated a number of times and displayed in various locations. After the artist’s death, his widow established a small private museum in Prieuré des Granges in the French Pyrenees – in complete seclusion, away from any buildings, in the midst of a thick forest. The second part of the artist’s legacy was presented nearby, in the medieval, formerly Cistercian abbey in Sylvanès. The Sylvanès collection was purchased and transported to Warsaw in March 2019.
It comprises ninety-three sculptures. These works represent all stages of August Zamoyski’s creative activity – from the earliest attempts made while the artist still lived in his native Jabłoń near Lublin, to sculptures created in the last years of his life (including Resurrection, which he devised as his tombstone in Saint-Clar-de-Rivière). Also acquired were twelve drawings and preparatory sketches as well as several sculptures created by Zamoyski’s pupils. Apart from the above, the collection features a set of over 200 tools which enable us to gain in-depth knowledge of the artist’s technique. Chests used to transport the sculptures from the Pyrenees to Poland are also part of the exhibition design.
During the collection showcase at the National Museum in Warsaw, all sculptures will undergo conservation – in the museum rooms, on view to the audience.
Zamoyski was active for more than half a century; he worked in France for thirty years and spent fifteen years in Brazil, where he emigrated during the Second World War. Starting from the late 1920s, he was often exhibited, mostly in Poland, France and Brazil, already gaining the recognition of critics and audiences. He was interested in the structure of materials, their properties, such as hardness and grain, and the possibilities of executing shapes directly in the stone (taille directe). He worked in various materials; many of his works were created in marble, granite and diorite, all of which are extremely hard stones.
August Zamoyski attached the utmost care to preserving his artistic legacy. He sold his sculptures with reluctance and on a few occasions even repurchased works from their new owners. The artist wanted to secure the collection against dispersion and find a suitable venue to present it. Although he did not leave a will, on more than one occasion he expressed a hope that this would be the National Museum in Warsaw.
Curator of Zamoyski: The Rescued Works
Collection showcase organized by the National Museum in Warsaw in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw as part of the Zamoyski Project
Honorary Patronage of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński
Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage
Exhibition under the auspices of the Embassy of France in Poland