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EUROPEJSKI NEWS is an exclusive space for cultural and artistic news, Warsaw city guides, and insights into the history of the capital and the legendary Hotel Europejski. Join us for a journey through the streets of Warsaw.

1. Botticelli Tells A Story

Must-see exhibitions in Warsaw's galleries and museums

The summer months are a perfect time to explore Warsaw as the city has a lot to offer during this time. The capital's museums and galleries thrive during the summer holidays and have many open exhibitions that can`t be missed. Many will last until Autumn, but we encourage you to enjoy these exhibits as part of your summer outings. Here is our subjective overview of the most interesting exhibitions of both, contemporary and traditional art.

Botticelli Tells a Story

This exhibition cannot be missed! For those who love traditional art we recommend visiting the Royal Castle, where you can admire masterpieces of Italian painting. At the Botticelli Tells a Story exhibition there are seven breathtaking artworks of the Renaissance from the collection of the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo. Among the masters there are artists such as Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Cosmè Tura, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Battista Moroni, Paolo Veronese and of course Sandro Botticelli himself and his famous The Story of Virginia. These artists represent the most important artistic centers of northern Italy, and the artworks presented at the Royal Castle are widely known from art history textbooks (until September 18).

www.zamek-krolewski.pl

Restless Figures

From the halls of the Royal Castle, we move to the Royal Gardens, where artworks from the collection of the Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko appeared in July. It`s an extremely important and unique cultural institution - the only sculpture center in Poland. However, it`s still not very well known. It`s located in the historic, 19th-century palace and manor complex in Orońsko, a village in Szydłowiec County, Masovian Voivodeship. As early as the 19th century, an art colony operated here, and the contemporary character of the place was influenced by creative workshops and open-air exhibitions established in 1965. The Center's collection includes works by such outstanding Polish artists as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Mirosław Bałka, Władysław Hasior and Katarzyna Kobro. In the Royal Gardens you can admire both abstract and more classical sculptures by artists such as Barbara Zbrożyna, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Gustaw Zemła, Adam Myjak and many others (until September 30).

www.zamek-krolewski.pl

Witkacy. Seismograph of the Acceleration Age

Witkacy was one of the greatest and most original artists of the 20th century. He was multi-talented: a painter, draftsman, philosopher, photographer, art critic and playwright. His insight in the varied development of civilization was astonishing, some of his predictions still remain up-to-date. At the exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw, we can see works from the museum`s collection as well as other institutions, and private collections. Instead of by chronology, the curators present the artworks by Witkacy`s own themes and interests. They are also shown in a larger, European context. It`s worth seeing the artists`s lesser-known photo portraits that seem to be as demonic as Witkacy`s famous pastel and oil portraits from the Portrait Company period (until October 9).

www.mnw.art.pl

The Discomfort of Evening

The Zachęta National Gallery of Art invites you to an exhibition presenting the latest works by young Polish contemporary artists born between 1985 and 2000, displaying both, recognized as well as unseen works. The title refers to the novel by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (born 1991) which focuses on the topics of mourning, anxiety and the end of the world. These are also the main themes of the art pieces presented at the exhibition. We are very pleased by the presence of artists from the Art Collection of the Hotel Europejski: Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Tytus Szabelski, Paweł Olszczyński, and Zuza Golińska, who recently has been awarded the Dorothea von Stetten Art Award, an award granted since 1984 by the Kunstmuseum in Bonn for Polish contemporary artists (until October 16).

www.zacheta.art.pl

Kinds of Love

The Gunia Nowik Gallery celebrates its first anniversary by summing up its first year of activity. It must be admitted that this young gallery burst onto Warsaw's art scene with momentum. It`s not surprising, as Gunia Nowik was active at the Pola Magnetyczne gallery for eight years, and  gained outstanding experience and wide recognition. The eponymous gallery  has hosted several important exhibitions including Agata Bogacka`s latest paintings which definitely was one of the most interesting art events  of 2022. Kinds of Love presents the works of artists associated with the gallery. In addition to  Bogacka, you can also view artworks by Teresa Gierzyńska, Jakub Gliński, Krzysztof Jung, Katarzyna Korzeniecka, Anna Orłowska and Iza Tarasewicz. For the first time, the gallery presents works by Daniel Rycharski, who recently started cooperation with the gallery. Rycharski is one of the hottest names of the Polish contemporary art scene in recent years. At the current exhibition, the artists present their visions of love, showing its wide and complex spectrums (until September 10).

www.gunianowikgallery.com

 

Author: Łukasz Godlewski, Hotel & Tour Guide, Raffles Europejski Warsaw

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210714192814 0970

Cocktail for artists

The final results of the "Europejski for Children of Ukraine" auction turned out to be a great success! Thanks to the generosity of our artists and the sponsors of special prizes, we managed to collect PLN 679 722 PLN On June 24, 2022, we met at the Pavilion in the courtyard of the Hotel Europejski to thank everyone who took part in this unique event.

We would especially like to thank the 44 artists who donated their artworks to this noble cause. Their generosity surpassed our wildest expectations:

Anna Barlik, Alicja Bielawska, Karolina Bielawska, Joanna Borkowska, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Dorota Buczkowska, Józefina Chętko, Tomasz Ciecierski, Rafał Dominik, Ewa Doroszenko, Monika Drożyńska, Jarosław Fliciński, Zuzanna Golińska, Maurycy Gomulicki, Agnieszka Grodzińska, Nicolas Grospierre, Anna Grzelewska , Magdalena Karpińska, Alicja Karska and Aleksandra Went, Anna Konik, Piotr Łakomy, Izabela Łęska, Jan Mioduszewski, Anna Niesterowicz, Paweł Olszczyński, Igor Omulecki, Witek Orski, Alicja Patanowska, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Sławomir Pawszak, Wojciech Plewiński, Joanna Rajkowska, Paweł Susid, Tytus Szabelski, Tomasz Szerszeń, Małgorzata Szymankiewicz, Martyna Ścibior, Leon Tarasewicz, Andrzej Tobis, Małgorzata Turewicz Lafranchi, Wojciech Wieteska, Włodzimierz Jan Zakrzewski and Anna Zaradny.

The auction was conducted by DESA Unicum, the largest auction house in Poland. With DESA's cooperation we could be certain the auction would be conducted at the highest level. The finale, which took place in the Ballroom of the Hotel Europejski, was hosted by the CEO of DESA Unicum, Juliusz Windorbski, whose charisma netted a great financial result.

This success would not have been possible without the contribution of Anda Rottenberg, the curator of the Hotel Europejski Art Collection. Her insight, experience and knowledge of the art market proved invaluable.

The funds collected during the event were donated to the SOS Children's Villages Association for a special initiative - SOS FOR CHILDREN OF UKRAINE, which aims to help abandoned and orphaned children.

Zachęta Na Początku XX W., Archiwum Zachęty

Zachęta National Gallery of Art: Warsaw`s contemporary art icon

Zachęta National Gallery of Art is the oldest art gallery in Warsaw. Several generations of artists, curators and art historians have worked for its status in the art world. The beautiful Italian Renaissance style building was erected thanks to the efforts of the Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts. It was established by a group of friends - artists and art enthusiasts who wanted to support Polish culture during the difficult time when Poland lacked independence and was partitioned.

The Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts was founded in 1860, but in the beginning, it didn't have its own headquarters. It operated in rented buildings, and one of the first locations was in the Gerlach Hotel, where soon after the Hotel Europejski was built. The main tasks of the Society were temporary exhibitions, art collecting and awarding scholarships to young artists. The building was constructed on Plac Małachowskiego and financed by contributions of members of the institution. It`s worth mentioning Ludwika Górecka, a social activist and philanthropist, who donated the property where her family home stood for the extension of the gallery. Her gesture was overlooked for many years because Górecka didn't want publicity. Today a plaque inside the gallery reminds us of her generosity.

The Zachęta building is one of the most important examples of representative architecture of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was designed by Stefan Szyller, an outstanding Warsaw architect. The monumental portico with stairs leading to the entrance is supported by pillars and Corinthian columns, and the top is filled with sculptures by Zygmunt Otto - the personification of the Genius of the Power of Art and allegories of Beauty and Truth. The Latin maxim ARTIBUS means - to the arts. After the gallery was opened, the Warsaw press called the Zachęta Gallery "the palace of art". During World War II, the building housed the Nazi propaganda cultural institution. Luckily it wasn't destroyed, which makes it one of the most precious historical monuments in Warsaw.

After the war, the building was the seat of the Central Bureau of Art Exhibitions following the cultural policy of the People's Republic of Poland, under which censorship was often used. It was only after the Fall of Communism in 1989 that Zachęta became one of the most important institutions for Polish culture, opening up to the world and placing Polish art in an international context. Zachęta has exhibited artworks of artists such as Alina Szapocznikow, Marlene Dumas, Roman Cieślewicz, Tadeusz Kantor, Wolfgang Tillmans, Wilhelm Sasnal, Katarzyna Kozyra and Leon Tarasewicz. In addition to temporary exhibitions, the gallery also creates its own collection, documents Polish artistic life, conducts educational activities, and organizes an exhibition for the Polish Pavilion at the International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, one of the most important art festivals in the world.

During the difficult time of the pandemic, Zachęta did not slow down, and actually, the exhibitions of Monika Sosnowska (2020) and Joanna Rajkowska (2021) were one of the most interesting art events of the recent years. It was the first such large exhibition of Sosnowska in Poland. The Zachęta halls were filled with artworks created as a result of the deformation of structural elements of buildings and small urban architecture in communist-era Poland. The artist undermines the properties of the materials she uses, they are supposed to be durable but give the impression of being light and flexible. Rajkowska on the other hand, turned the interior of Zachęta into a scene resembling a post-apocalyptic movie, paying attention to the issues of climate change, related threats and possible scenarios of survival in the world after a cataclysm.

The Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts exists to this day and operates at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. Recently it celebrated its 160th anniversary, on this occasion, together with Zachęta it initiated the "160/160" project awarding 160 scholarships to artists affected by the crisis during the pandemic. The society is an active and very open non-profit organization that responds to the challenges posed by today`s reality. It gathers both artists and art lovers, and everyone is welcome to join.

Photographs:

  1. Zachęta at the beginning of the 20th century, Zachęta`s archive
  2. “Simple rainbow” installation by Marek Sobczyk, 2019, photo: Anna Zgrodzka, Zachęta`s archive
  3. Leon Tarasewicz's work on the steps of Zachęta, 2006, photo: Sebastian Madejski, Zachęta's archive
  4. Monika Sosnowska's exhibition, 2020, photo: Piotr Bekas, Zachęta's archive

 

Author: Łukasz Godlewski, Hotel & Tour Guide, Raffles Europejski Warsaw

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Europejski Helena Modjeska

Women's History Month. Extraordinary women of the Hotel Europejski

Celebrated each year Women's History Month is a great opportunity to recall famous women related to the Hotel Europejski. The banquets and Fashion Balls organized here attracted people like a magnet, among the guests were stars of cinema, theater, as well as social and political activists.  

Helena Modrzejewska is undoubtedly one of the greatest actresses in the history of polish theater. She lived in Warsaw on Królewska Street, and her house served as a salon for Warsaw's elite. Many artists such as Stanisław Witkiewicz, Adam Chmielowski and Aleksander Gierymski were her frequent guests. Modrzejewska, on the other hand, visited them in the art studio, located on the top floor of the Hotel Europejski. According to rumours, she even posed for Chmielewski here. Modrzejewska did an extraordinary thing: without knowing English, she left for the United States, learned the language and made a stunning career. After the first performance in San Francisco under the pseudonym Helena Modjeska, one of the newspapers wrote: "A genius has appeared in town." During her 30 years of career overseas, she gained fame of which most could only dream. Her images adorned luxury cosmetics and cigar boxes. She went on 26 tours in total, each time covering 5,000 km by train and sleeping in dozens of hotels. Her only day off was Sunday, but she usually spent it on the train on her way to the next city. An interesting fact is that Modrzejewska was the godmother of another famous actress, Ethel Barrymore, grandmother of the contemporary movie star - Drew Barrymore. 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie in the laboratory, 1912, Wikipedia Commons

Marie Skłodowska-Curie, 1912, Wikipedia Commons

In the following decades, the hotel hosted another extraordinary woman, Maria Skłodowska-Curie. As a woman and immigrant, she overcame the difficulties of her times and reached the heights of human ability. She was the first woman ever to receive a Nobel Prize and the first female professor at the Sorbonne University. Her discoveries have been used in medicine for the treatment of cancer. In 1913 during her visit to celebrate her second Nobel Prize, Maria Skłodowska-Curie visited the Hotel Europejski where she met women from Warsaw society. The scholar was warmly greeted by the famous writer Maria Rodziewiczówna, who gave a special speech. During the party, a concert of works and songs by Fryderyk Chopin took place. Jadwiga Sikorska, Maria's former teacher, was also among the guests. She was very moved when Maria recognized her in the crowd. The visit was associated with the opening of the first radiology laboratory in Warsaw, which in the future turned into one of the first Radium Institutes in the world.    

The interwar period was the time of glamour and splendor of the Hotel Europejski, mainly due to legendary Fashion Balls. Anticipated for months in advance, the balls attracted many extraordinary celebrities from the world of film, art and politics. Ball gowns were made by the best Warsaw dress makers such as Herse, Zmigryder and Myszkorowski. A Ball Queen was always elected for each event, but Nina Andrycz was definitely the most famous one. This actress, endowed with extraordinary talent, charisma and beauty, played at the Polish Theater in Warsaw for 70 years, creating over 100 characters. Due to her statuesque beauty, she was often casted as queens and aristocrats. Known as the "Great Dame of Polish theater", Nina Andrycz retired at the age of 94, and died at the age of 101. 

Ina Benita, 1938, Wikipedia Commons

Ina Benita, 1938, Wikipedia Commons

During the Fashion Ball in 1939, a special category was created for another legendary actress - Ina Benita - honored with the title of "The Queen of Sex Appeal". Benita is considered to be the first femme fatale in the history of Polish cinematography. She was beautiful, intelligent and independent, and spoke several languages. During the war she was providing valuable information about high-ranking German officers to the Polish underground. She even saved the lives of a few people.  

Michalina Mościcka was a true VIP of the Fashion Balls. She was the wife of Ignacy Mościcki, the President of the Republic of Poland. She was an independence, social and feminist activist, fought for women's rights, including voting rights. As the first lady she was involved in charitable causes, notably creating a care center for poor and orphaned children. During the flood in the Małopolska region in 1927, she initiated aid for the victims of the flood throughout the country. For her merits, she was awarded many medals such as Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.  

The list of extraordinary women associated with the Hotel Europejski is long and fascinating. The stories of many of them still inspire both writers and filmmakers. There are many biographies, films and series about them. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the achievements of these extraordinary characters, their strength, talent and determination deserve the highest recognition.  

Photo gallery:

  1. Helena Modjeska, 1899, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; neg. no. LC USZ 62 55125
  2. Marie Skłodowska-Curie at the lab, colorized, 1912, Wikipedia Commons
  3. Nina Andrycz at the Hotel Europejski in 1938, Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe
  4. Ina Benita, 1938, Wikipedia Commons
  5. Michalina Mościcka in Warsaw, 1926, Wikipedia Commons

Author: Łukasz Godlewski, Hotel & Tour Guide, Raffles Europejski Warsaw

120921 ZAMEK DRON 30

The 50th Anniversary of the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw

The reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw was an outstanding project on a globally unprecedented scale. It was the culmination of the post-war reconstruction of the Old Town which resulted in the inclusion of the area on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980. We are now celebrating the 50th anniversary of this remarkable achievement, and the program is certainly impressive.

The history of the Royal Castle dates back to the Middle Ages, but it began to serve as the main royal residence at the end of the 16th century when the royal court was moved from Krakow to Warsaw upon the initiative of King Sigismund III Vasa. The castle was also the seat of the parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, after the union of Poland and Lithuania in the 16th century. In 1791, the May 3rd Constitution was passed in the Senators Hall of the castle. It was the first in Europe and the second in the world after the US Constitution.

At the end of the 18th century, the Royal Castle lost its governing functions as a result of the partitions of Poland carried out by the neighboring powers - Russia, Prussia and Austria. After Poland regained independence in 1918, the Royal Castle was first the seat of the Chief of State, and then the residence of the President of the Republic of Poland. Unfortunately, the Second World War brought its total destruction. The castle was blown to pieces by the Nazis during suppression of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Despite the unimaginable damage, it was decided to reconstruct the former royal residence as faithfully as possible.

The building in its raw state was rebuilt between 1971-1974, which is why the jubilee celebrations also extend to the years 2021-2024. The Castle walls have already hosted exhibitions of Baroque masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio and Rubens.

During the gala inaugurating the second year of the anniversary, the Paolo Uccello exhibition Madonna with a Child from the series "Masterpieces at the Castle" was opened. In the coming months, we are expecting new exhibitions including the 300th birthday of the royal painter, Bernardo Bellotto, known as Canaletto. This Venetian painter created extraordinary paintings with views of 18th-century Warsaw which today are located in the Canaletto Room in the Castle. The exhibition about Jan Piotr Norblin will bring us closer to the figure of the French painter and draftsman who created drawings of many historical events important for Poland during his stay in Warsaw. At the exhibition about the Royal Library of Stanisław August, we will learn about the history of the place which, next to the Kubicki Arcades, is the only such impressive fragment of the former royal residence that survived the war. The anniversary celebrations will be accompanied by concerts and numerous educational and scientific events.

Raffles Europejski Warsaw is pleased to join the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. In the hotel lobby, we are presenting a showcase of elegant merchandise related to this unique event. Our guests have the opportunity to use the Royal Concierge service which allows them to visit all available exhibitions at the Royal Castle. As part of the invitation, audio guides on the Royal Route are also available in several languages: Polish, English, German, Russian and Spanish.

Author: Łukasz Godlewski, Hotel & Tour Guide, Raffles Europejski Warsaw

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