© Muzeum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów
   |   26.03.2022

Potocki Collection Gallery

In March 2022, after the renovation of the northern and southern galleries on the first floor of the Wilanów Palace, a new exhibition has been opened: “Art Collecting in the Potocki Family”.

In the past, this section of the palace housed part of a permanent exhibition established in the 1960s by Stanisław Lorentz and Stefan Kozakiewicz. The subject of the exhibition was a presentation of the history of the Polish portraiture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Presently, taking into account the collecting achievements of generations of owners of the Wilanów residence and the collection of the museum, narrative motifs presenting the history of the residence have been reworked.

Within the new exhibition, we present masterpieces of the Wilanów collection. The show on the first floor is a continuation of the motifs present on the ground floor of the palace. As early as 1805, the palace housed the museum of King Jan III, created and made available by Aleksandra and Stanisław Kostka Potocki. After their deaths, the collecting traditions were continued by their son Aleksander, followed by his grandson August and his wife Aleksandra Potocki née Potocka. They contributed not only to the expansion of the collection, but also to the popularisation of the Wilanów residence.

The most important part of this fragment of the new arrangement of the exhibition on the first floor of the Wilanów Palace is a recollection of the 1856 Exhibition of Antiquity, organised by August and Aleksandra Potocki. It was one of the first temporary museum exhibitions on Polish soil. The audience was given access to both objects elevated to the rank of historical memorabilia and utilitarian works of high artistic value, originating from the collections of the Polish aristocracy, connoisseurs and collectors. The official aim of the exhibition was to collect charitable works of art, while the hidden goal was to indicate works that recalled the former glory and power of Poland, which at that time did not exist on maps. More than 100 objects out of the 240 which the Potocki family presented at the exhibition have been preserved to this day in the Wilanów collection. The most valuable of them are on display in specially prepared showcases, including collections of works of glass and bisque porcelain.

The collection of paintings assembled by the last of the Potocki family of Wilanów being made available is a great attraction. Visitors can admire outstanding works of art, presented in a modern way, among others, thanks to the latest lighting systems, which generate light allowing for proper reception of the colours of the works of art.

The most important masterpieces of craftsmanship – photos:

Aert van den Bossche, Martyrdom of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, Flanders, 1494, Wil. 1521

H. Mair, Tray, Augsburg, 2nd half of the 17th c., Wil. 504

J. J. Kaendler, E. J. Friedrich, E. J. Gottlieb, Porcelain figure of August III, Meissen 1740/1741, Wil. 2851

text: Joanna Paprocka-Gajek