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Two artworks lost during WWII returned to Polish museums

21.09.2023 06:30
Two significant artworks lost during World War II have been returned to Poland, Piotr Gliński, the minister of culture and national heritage, has announced.
Polish Culture Minister Piotr Gliński.
Polish Culture Minister Piotr Gliński.Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

The artworks in question are Lady with a Fan, from the collection of the Museum of King Jan III's Palace in Warsaw's Wilanów district, and Ernst Wilhelm Knippel's lithograph Królewska Huta housed at the Silesian Museum in Katowice, southern Poland.

Gliński highlighted the significance of the event, stating, "Today we present and reintegrate two items previously deemed lost, thanks to the restitution efforts of our ministry. Both these works were on the list of Polish wartime losses."

Outlining the advancements in technology, Gliński emphasized its role in tracking down lost art.

"We're finding an increasing number of lost artworks from Polish collections, thanks in part to modern technological tools, facilitating billions of searches daily," he said.

He also praised the role of media for widely covering their initiatives, enhancing public awareness and fostering a sense of civic duty in the populace.

Maria Czarnecka, the director of the Silesian Museum in Katowice, expressed her joy over the return of the Królewska Huta lithograph.

"Thank you for helping us recover what once belonged to the Museum and the Polish nation," she said. "I'd like to express gratitude to Elżbieta Rogowska, the director of the Department of Cultural Goods Restitution, her team, and everyone involved in bringing this lithograph back."

Paweł Jaskanis, the director of the Museum of King Jan III's Palace, underscored the broader significance of such restitutions.

"It's essential for items to be returned to their rightful places, regardless of their material value," he remarked. "Their symbolic importance, ensuring cultural continuity, is fundamental in every country."

The Museum of King Jan III's Palace is one of Poland's national monuments and a steward of a large collection art reflecting the country's rich history.

Meanwhile, the Silesian Museum in Katowice, established in January 1929, stands as a pillar of culture in Poland's southern Silesia region.

Restitution efforts play a vital role in reestablishing cultural and national identities disrupted by wartime events, officials have said.


Source: PAP

Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.