The exhibition ARTYSCI ZE SZKOLY JANA MATEJKI / ARTISTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF JAN MATEJKO will be the first collective public presentation of works by almost all the artists known to have emerged from the studio of Jan Matejko. Though current knowledge places more than eighty artists in this group, public exposure in recent times has been the lot of only a handful, namely, Jacek Malczewski, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Jozef Mehoffer, Maurycy Gottlieb, Wojciech Weiss, Witold Pruszkowski, and Leon Wyczolkowski.
The pieces in the current exhibit belong to many artistic realms (painting, sculpture, drawing and the graphic arts, stained glass, ceramics, tapestries) and derive from more than a dozen Polish museums and private collections, the latter primarily held by the artists' families. This is a highly varied assemblage of works, both in terms of the representational motifs and visual forms that characterize the works of painters like A. Markowicz, L. Benedyktowicz, K. Pochwalski, L. de Laveaux, W. Koniuszko, D. Kotowski, T. Popiel, A. Gramatyka, A. Piotrowski, W. Pawliszak, W. Tetmajer, and K. Zelechowski.
The exhibition brings together the artists' academic sketches, their early works, which still embody academic canons, as well as works that reflect great individuality and the far-reaching originality of the artists' explorations. There are a number of exceptional works among the assembled pieces.
The purpose of the exhibition is to show the "Matejko School" as a singular social and artistic phenomenon. The art of this era above all consists of historical paintings, as well as Symbolist and Secessionist works, though landscapes, portraits (many of them commissioned), and small format historical paintings are also in evidence. Admired at one time, these works brought their authors many distinctions. Today, however, they are rarely exhibited in museums, in spite of being important documents of their age.
Two approaching events inspired the organizers to mount this exhibition. These are the 20th anniversary of the restitution of the Silesian Museum in Katowice and the celebrations of the end of the "Year of Matejko," which will fall on the 110th anniversary of the artist's death.
The exhibition catalogue is a scholarly album that is supplemented with color reproductions of the works on view and a brochure/guide to the exhibit.