Folk woodcut – a lost art?


Folk woodcut is a little-known and rarely presented field of folk art. It was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries but by the end of the 19th century it had become a “lost art”. Fortunately, the first collections of works were established in the 19th century. Experts, lovers of folk art and professional artists took an interest in them and the first scientific studies on the subject were undertaken at the beginning of the 20th century

Attempts were also made to reactivate the folk woodcut. Jędrzej Wowro, at Emil Zegadłowicz’s suggestion, started to make woodcuts at the turn of the 1920s and the 1930s. He was followed in the 1970s by Piotr Dyburski from Grobla who was inspired by Kacper Świerzowski, a bibliophile and folk art collector. However, this did not contribute to the revival of this art. Do contemporary creators give hope for a return to this art of creating folk woodcuts?

The exhibition presents woodcuts and woodcut blocks from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It shows the effects of interest in this field of folk art. It also presents contemporary examples of its reactivation: the graphics by Antoni Toborowicz and Włodzimierz Ostoja-Lniski. It brings to the audience an interesting and little-known area of folk art.

The objects on display are from the following collections:

The Museum of Częstochowa

The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum Krakow

The Prof. Stanisław Fischer Museum in Bochnia

The Municipal Museum in Sucha Beskidzka

The National Museum in Krakow

The Museum of Teschen Silesia in Cieszyn

The Silesian Museum in Katowice

The Dr. Tytus Chałubiński Museum of the Tatra Mountains in Zakopane

The State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw

The exhibition screens the “Polish Folk Woodcut” film from 1970, directed by Grzegorz Dubowski, shot by the Educational Film Company in Łódź.

The exhibition is accompanied by songs about saints recorded in Katowice in 2020 as part of Iga Fedak’s “Saints in Polish Tradition” project sponsored under the “Culture on the Web” initiative of the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport. The lyrics of the songs come from the “Hymn Book” from 1838, published in Krakow by priest Michał Marcin Mioduszewski.

Exhibition: May 14 – August 15, 2021

Exhibition script author and curator: Krystyna Pieronkiewicz-Pieczko

Art arrangement: Krystian Banik

Place of presentation: the Silesian Museum in Katowice, 1 T. Dobrowolskiego St., the “Polish Stenography Center” building

  • Muzeum Śląskie w Katowicach ul. T. Dobrowolskiego 1
  • Type of exhibition: Temporary
  • Kurator wystawy:
    Krystyna Pieronkiewicz‑Pieczko
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