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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » May 7, 2015
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Raiders of the Lost Art
May 7, 2015   
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Images of Polish art that was looted by foreign invaders over the centuries will be shown to audiences in an inventive annual project called Lost Museum that aims to help recover lost treasures.

Poland lost hundreds of thousands of paintings, sculptures, handicraft items and priceless manuscripts that were either destroyed or taken out of the country in wars and invasions. Many of these artworks are still missing, but thanks to the joint efforts of government officials, institutions and individuals, some of these lost pieces are being found every year.

The Lost Museum is an annual project that supports the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in its efforts to locate lost works. Spreading the word about such items is an essential component of these efforts.

As a result of World War II alone, Poland lost about 600,000 works of art and 70 million volumes of valuable books and manuscripts.

The most important part of the Lost Museum project are multimedia shows organized during the Night of the Museums event held in major Polish cities every year. Selected works of art lost by Poland are then presented in a modern and attractive way. This year’s project will focus on sites to which Poland’s German occupiers transported looted art and where they stockpiled it. These include Fischhorn Castle in Austria, where the Germans transported many items from the National Museum in Warsaw and from the Gołuchów Castle museum near the city of Kalisz.

This year’s Lost Museum project will also tell the story of the “Polish Indiana Jones,” army officer Bohdan Urbanowicz, who helped recover hundreds of unique works of art including pictures by top Polish painters such as Jan Matejko and Aleksander Gierymski. A painter himself and graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, Lieutenant Urbanowicz fought against Poland’s German invaders in 1939 and then found himself in a POW camp in Austria before he set off on his mission to recover lost artwork.

Grzegorz Siwicki


This year’s Lost Museum shows will take place May 16.
Main shows:
Warsaw – Presidential Palace Courtyard
Cracow – Wawel Royal Castle Courtyard
Poznań – City Gate
Gdańsk – Green Gate
Information about lost artworks is available at a Ministry of Culture website ( http://dzielautracone.gov.pl/) as well as from the Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 (www.lootedart.com) and the Art Loss Register (www.artloss.com).
Selected works of art featured in the Lost Museum project can also be seen at www.muzeumutracone.pl
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