Masterpieces worth over 7K inherited by Kraków city after being found in dead collector’s flat

The collection, which includes 100 paintings by Polish masters such as Jacek Malczewski, and Jerzy and Wojciech Kossak, was discovered after the woman, who hasn’t been named, passed away in 2011. Miasto Kraków

An art collection of masterpieces worth PLN 716,000 which belonged to a woman who died without heirs has been inherited by the city of Kraków.

The collection, which includes 100 paintings by Polish masters such as Jacek Malczewski, and Jerzy and Wojciech Kossak, was discovered after the woman, who hasn’t been named, passed away in 2011.

City officials said: “The vast majority of the works are by outstanding artists associated with Kraków, who have lived and worked in our city for over 100 years.”Miasto Kraków

It then took over nine years to sort out who would claim the inheritance. According to Polish law, if someone dies without having any family or all of them refuse to accept the inheritance, the inheritance is passed on to the municipality where the deceased last resided. 

The authorities found the woman’s 50-sqm apartment crammed full of the valuable canvases, as well as porcelain, glass, crystal, and handicrafts made of metal and silver.Miasto Kraków

Finally claiming the rights to the woman’s apartment earlier this year, city authorities found her 50-sqm apartment crammed full of valuable canvases, porcelain, glass, crystal, and handicrafts made of metal and silver.

There was also a collection of books and periodicals related to the art market in Kraków and Poland, invitations to auctions, exhibitions and their openings.

It took the city over nine years to sort out who would claim the inheritance.Miasto Kraków

In an official statement, Kraków city authorities wrote: “Our heroine showed local patriotism in creating her art collection.

“The vast majority of the works are by outstanding artists associated with Kraków, who have lived and worked in our city for over 100 years.

“Thus, the responsibility rested on the city, so that the acquisition did not become just an anonymous collection of objects.”


The collection includes paintings by Jacek Malczewski, Wlastimil Hofman, Jerzy and Wojciech Kossak, Jerzy Wróblewski and Seweryn Obst, among others.

For now, the artwork can be viewed in a short video published by the city. 

The pieces will now undergo renovations, before being displayed at the Museum of Kraków in the Main Square. Miasto Kraków

City officials said: “All these collected objects are silent witnesses of her life.

“They show us a person for whom art in its broadest sense was not only a passion but also a way of life.

“It is difficult to judge whether she was the only creator of the collected collection or whether she continued some family traditions.

“One thing is certain, without any contact with art, she couldn’t imagine her everyday life. We can also guess that she was actively involved in the circle of Kraków's painters.” 

The collection is valued at 716,000 PLN.Miasto Kraków

The pieces will now undergo renovations, before being displayed at the Museum of Kraków in the Main Square.