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Polish Arts and Crafts

DATES January 7, 1939 through January 29, 1939
COLLECTIONS European Art
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  • December 28, 1938: THE PRESIDENT AND TRUSTEES OF THE BROOKLYN INSTITUTE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES AND THE COMMUNITY FOLK ARTS COMMITTEE REQUEST THE HONOR OF YOUR PRESENCE AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM FOR THE OPENING OF AN EXHIBITION OF POLISH DECORATIVE ARTS AND A CONCERT OF POLISH SONGS AND DANCES AT THREE O’CLOCK ON THE AFTERNOON OF SATURDAY JANUARY SEVENTH NINETEEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE

    The Honorable Dr. Sylvester Gruszka Consul General of Poland will deliver the address of welcome

    An exhibition of Polish decorative arts, festival concerts of Polish music and dancing, moving pictures and other events featuring the arts and culture of Poland will be offered to the public by the Brooklyn Museum during the month of January when the Community Folk Arts Committee is sponsoring a Polish Festival.

    The exhibition of Polish arts will open Saturday, January 7th, and run through Sunday, January 29th.

    The festival concerts will be as follows:

    Saturday, January 7th, a.t 3 P.M. Opening address by the Honorable Dr. Sylvester Gruszka, Consul General of Poland. Dances by the Polish Folk Dance Circle, Bronislaw Matusz, Director. Choral music, chiefly folk songs, by the Chopin Singing Society, Edward Senneit, conductor. Dances by the Polish Folk Art and Dance Group, Lola Rom, Leader.

    The concert and opening of the exhibition will be preceeded[sic] by a meeting of the Polish Committee of the Community Folk Arts Committee.

    Sunday, January 8th, at 3 P.M. Moving Picture: Poland on Parade.

    Saturday, January 14th, at 3 P.M. Songs by the Moniuszko Singing Society, Edward Seinnet, Conductor. Songs by the Dzwon Zygmunta Society of Williamsburg, Angela Bonk, Conductor. Dances by the Young People’s Dance Group of the Polish Falcon’s Alliance of Williamsburg, Nest No. 14, Chester Solczyk, Director.

    Members of the Polish Committee will act as hosts.

    Saturday, January 21st, at 3 P.M. Symphony Concert by the Brooklyn Civic Orchestra, Paul Kosok, Director. Sponsored by Long Island University.

    Saturday, January 28th, at 3 P.M. A concert by musicians from the Federal Music Project of New York City, United States Works Progress Administration.

    [illegible] by the Polish Committee [illegible] mittee of Brooklyn. The members of the Polish Committee are: Mrs. Joseph Baluto, Mrs. A. W. Blinski, Mrs. Stephanie Call, Mrs. Joseph Glembocki, Mrs. Paul Kawecki, Mrs. William Kuezwalski, Mrs. Marie Linke, Mrs. Stephen Machcinski, Mr. Joseph Rechter, Miss Lola Rom, Mrs. Clement Rozanski, Mrs. Anthony M. Sauriki, Mrs. Joseph Shlichta, Mrs. John Smolinski, Mrs. S. Wichlinski, and Mrs. Peter P. Yolles.

    The materials for the exhibition of Polish arts were collected and prepared by Miss Mary Werten of the Polish Art Service.

    Polish Art today is basically a fusion of folk tradition and contemporary craftmanship and ideas. It was not until the close of the XIXth Century that Poland was able to achieve an artistic renaissance which was established upon a folk art foundation. However, Polish artists realized the folk tradition was chiefly valuable as inspirational and study material. These sources have been harmonized with modern conceptions in technique. This blending is manifest in the contemporary wood block prints included in the exhibition at the Museum. In the reproduction of the Strienska panels, one is again conscious of the folk art foundation of a highly individual contemporary style. This underlying fusion of tradition with contemporary standards of craftmanship may be seen in the woodcarvings of fanciful and realistic animals, birds, and religious portraits in the woven and block printed textiles, which include wall hangings, covers, belts, etc. The primitive colored paper, straw and eggshell toys found their origin in traditional folk design. The Art of Poland during the Middle Ages and Renaissance was largely contributed by foreign influences. However, as soon as new forms of art were introduced to Poland, a definitely local style was developed.

    Examples of these older arts common throughout Western Europe are carved molds for festival cakes and glass paintings made by travelling artists who went from town to town carrying their materials with them so that favorite saints could be painted on order.

    The exhibition is by no means a complete review of Polish Art but will demonstrate in a small measure the relation between folk arts and contemporary techniques.

    The Community Folk Arts committee [is?] composed of representatives  of the following national groups: American, American Indian, Armenian, Czecho-Slovak, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian, Mexican, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Syrian, and Ukrainian; and of the following cooperating institutions: The Institute at the Academy of Music, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Music School Settlement, Brooklyn Women’s Club, Federal Music Project, Folk Festival Council, International Institute of the Y.W.C.A., Progressive Education Association and Y.W.C.A. Central Branch.

    The following is quoted from a statement explaining the purpose of the committee.

    “In a large American community such as Brooklyn with so many national groups represented in large and well organized numbers, the problem of American civilization is very easily seen and studied. And this problem is soon to be the same as that of the civilizations of the world.

    “It is the purpose of the Community Folk Arts Committee to demonstrate what the arts of each large national group have contributed and can still contribute to the civilizations of the world, to familiarize each group with the cultures of all the others, to place the strength of all national groups united in this Committee at the service of every individual group.

    “If we cannot understand our own neighbors and settle the conflicts between neighbors and neighborhoods of different cultural backgrounds within our own community, it will be futile and arrogant for us to attempt to understand or judge the cultures and conflicts of whole nations abroad.

    “If we can understand and cooperate with each other, and we believe that this can be done in some measure by studying the creative arts of different national groups, we shall have contributed something toward that fusion of the civilizations of the world which is the basis of American civilization. We may also hope to develop within this community a point of view and a type of leadership which may contribute to the progress of human civilization and the ”peace of the world.”

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1938. 11-12/1938, 253-6. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4