Polskie malarstwo i grafika w zbiorach Niedzielskich w Śledziejowicach
Polish painting and graphics in Niedzielski’s collection
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The Niedzielski family of Larysz coat of arms who settled in the Śledziejowice demesne at the beginning of the 19th century was not different from other Cracovian landowning families. Even though the main task of subsequent heirs was managing the estate and taking care of the large family, they never lacked the will to develop other interests. Starting with Kajetan Niedzielski, through Erazm and Stanisław – they were all amateur collectors. Significant affluence, coupled with laboriousness, knowledge and social talents, resulted in the fact that outstanding artists visited Śledziejowice, such as Artur Grottger, Andrzej Grabowski and many others. Their works, provided with dedications, adorned the walls of the hospitable manor house. Apart from numerous family portraits, older patriotic and historical scenes, landscapes and multiple inexpensive “works” of the artists of the Cracovian Art Academy from the times when it was managed by Władysław Łuszczkiewicz and Jan Matejko, hung on the walls. There were no fashionable paintings of Jacek Malczewski, Leon Wyczółkowski, Teodor Axentowicz or, even the Kossaks (son and father), which could have been encountered in many Cracovian homes, not to mention Stanisław Wyspiański or Mehoffer. This was a house with walls adorned with religious and lay paintings, creating quite a typical set for this social layer. The uniqueness of this collection results from the fact that the majority of works were collected by the Niedzielski family in the course of only one hundred years; eventually, as a result of economic crisis after the end of WWI, most of them were sold out in order to save the property. In this manner, the “paintings” from Śledziejowice enriched other Polish private and museum collections. Some of them appear at auctions. Unfortunately, due to the fact that they were not marked in any manner, only some of them can be determined as deriving from the Niedzielski collection in Śledziejowice for certain. A list prepared around 1925 by Stanisław Niedzielski, who was aware of the need of documenting art collections, is a significant facilitation in such searches.
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