The Gallery of Polish Painting.
The collection of Polish paintings was created in Opole from the scratch. The underlying motif for its initiation, which began in the 1950s, was the need to supplement the museum's collections with works emphasizing the Polishness of the Recovered Territories. By effectuating subsequent acquisitions, over time a gallery was created, presenting the works of, among others, Józef Chełmoński, Olga Boznańska, Jacek Malczewski, Leon Wyczółkowski and many other outstanding Polish painters. In parallel to purchases, the museum received donations of artworks by artists hailing from the Opole region. In the 1960s through the 1980s, the Museum of Opole Silesia received two large batches of post-war Polish paintings from the Ministry of Culture and Art, including a large number of works created during the period of socialist realism and the post-October "thaw". The entire museum’s collection of Polish paintings currently includes around 700 paintings, created in the period from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century. The permanent exhibition at the Museum of Opole Silesia displays 130 paintings selected from that inventory and displayed in chronological order. The oldest artworks, showcased in the first exhibition room, were created in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Particularly attention-grabbing are paintings by artists from the circle of Polish realism and impressionism, as well as paintings depicting historical subjects popular at that time. In this room, we can see works by Józef Chełmoński, Maksymilian Gierymski, Jan Matejko, Juliusz Kossak, Olga Boznańska, Jacek Malczewski, as well as a fragment of Wojciech Kossak's panorama showing the Bivouac on the banks of the Berezyna River (‘Biwak nad Berezyną’). In the central room, mainly the works of painters from the period called Young Poland (‘Młoda Polska’, roughly 1890-1918) are shown. The display features the Ukrainian landscapes of Jan Stanisławski, Hutsul motifs of Władysław Jarocki and Kazimierz Sichulski, paintings by Stanisław Wyspiański and Włodzimierz Tetmajer, which were inspired by the culture of peasants from the Kraków region. The unquestionable highlight of the display room is the ‘Portrait of the wife of the artist with a cat’ (‘Portret żony artysty z kotem’), painted by Konrad Krzyżanowski.
The last exhibition room gathers the most recent paintings of the museum collection, which originated starting from the interwar period to the 1970s. The visitor can get briefly acquainted with the most important tendencies of Polish painting of the period ‒ from Polish colorism, through socialist realism, abstractionist currents, to the painting of new figuration. The artists collected here include: Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Helena Krajewska, Jacek Sempoliński, Henryk Stażewski, and Jerzy Nowosielski.
Jan Cybis – the painting. The Gallery of the Museum of Opole Silesia, ul. Ozimska 10 (10 Ozimska Street)
The Museum of Opole Silesia owns the largest collection of works by Jan Cybis in Poland. Cybis was a painter who was born in the village of Wróblin near Głogówek in the Opole region in 1897, and died in Warsaw in 1972. The creation of the collection of works by Cybis at the Museum of Opole Silesia commenced after the artist's demise through purchases from the painter's immediate relatives. Currently, it comprises 90 oil paintings, 846 works on paper, and also Cybis' personal belongings ‒ textbooks, school supplies, home furnishings, as well as items he used to arrange his still lifes. In 1994, the Museum of Opole Silesia acquired a former inn, later the seat of the Opole Bureau of Art Exhibitions (Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych), located at the intersection of Ozimska and Kołłątaja streets. On January 20th 2000, after several years of renovations, the Gallery of the Museum of Opole Silesia was opened in the interiors of that edifice, hosting on its ground floor a permanent exhibition of works by Jan Cybis. The first floor is a venue for temporary exhibitions showing the output of painters from the circle of Jan Cybis, as well as winners of the Jan Cybis award.
Currently, less than 40 paintings can be seen at the permanent painting exhibition on the ground floor. It is but a selection from the Opole flagship collection. The oldest Cybis’ paintings on display were created in France in the 1920s, the most recent ones ‒ shortly before the painter's death in 1972 (elaborated by: Joanna Filipczyk).