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Warsaw. Malczewski’s “Reality” at the permanent exhibition at the Royal Castle

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Jacek Malczewski’s painting “Reality” will be temporarily presented at the permanent exhibition at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. In December 2022, the work was conditionally sold at an auction for PLN 17 million. The prosecutor’s office is still investigating the legal status and origin of “Reality”.

– The prosecutor secured the painting for the purposes of the proceedings. Currently, its keeper is the institution that will do it best. We wanted the painting not to degrade and to be stored in the conditions it should be. The Royal Castle in Warsaw agreed to accept the painting – prosecutor Szymon Banna, spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, told tvnwarszawa.pl.

– The management of the institution asked us if the painting could be presented as part of the permanent exhibition. The prosecutor saw no contraindications for the painting to be exhibited, Banna explained.

The picture is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office

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The prosecutor’s office is investigating the legal status and origin of the work. The point is to determine whether the removal of the painting from Poland in the 1950s by its then owners was lawful, or whether they had a permit to export the painting.

In early December, the picture “Reality” was left conditionally sold at an auction for PLN 17 million.

As DESA Unicum reported, the painting “became the property of a Polish-German family before 1939. In the 1950s (between 1954 and 1956) they moved from Poland to West Germany as a result of family reunification. They took the painting with them as resettlement property.” .

09.12.2022 | “Reality” by Jacek Malczewski has been sold. However, the new owner may never get the paintingThe auction took place, but conditionally. The buyer is there, but he has to wait for the painting. This is the complicated legal reality of Jacek Malczewski’s painting. Together with all fees, Malczewski’s work was sold for PLN 20,400,000. The government suspects that the painting was illegally exported from Poland in the 1950s. In such a case, the State Treasury may demand that the court hand over the work.Adrianna Otręba | TVN facts

According to documents held by DESA Unicum, in 1957 the painting was in West Germany. In 2021, the work was put up for auction on the internet by the heir of the family. He inherited “Reality” from his grandmother. When DESA Unicum employees saw Malczewski’s painting at an online auction, they contacted its owner. Finally, after the competent German office granted permission for permanent export to Poland, the painting was auctioned at DESA Unicum.

Read also: “Reality” will not go to the National Museum. The prosecution changes its mind about a famous painting.

“Reality” by Jacek Malczewski

Jacek Malczewski’s “Reality” from 1908 is one of the artist’s most important paintings. It was shown publicly for the last time in 1926 in Lviv. It was created a few years before Poland regained its independence, in the best period of the artist’s work. The work touches on the most important topics that bothered Malczewski: the artist’s mission, the patriotic mission of art, and romantic and national myths. It presents a multi-threaded scene with a large number of characters. In it, the painter uses religious, symbolic and historical themes of the Republic of Poland as well as motifs from his own life.

The painter himself is a representative of the present. He portrayed himself in a black vest and hat with painting supplies. In the second part of the painting, Malczewski placed the figure of Stańczyk in a scarlet jester’s costume, which can be interpreted as a reference to a critical assessment of the fall of the Republic of Poland.

In the background you can see three old men in uniforms, which is supposed to show the insurgent history of the enslaved country. The action of the scene was set by Malczewski in a nativity scene with the newborn Christ and the Mother of God, whose figures emerge from the darkness, from behind the board in the last plan of the composition. The characters of the painting drama were given by the artist the features of people close to him. The faces of the angels, the Mother of God and the Child were lent by the artist’s family: daughter Julia, wife Maria and son Rafał.

“Reality” – painting by Jacek Malczewski from 1908DESA Unicum

Main photo source: DESA Unicum

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