Expected to fetch between PLN 14 and PLN 22 million, which would have made it the most expensive artwork sold in Poland, the painting by Jacek Malczewski was being prepared for auction at the DESA Unicum auction house when police and staff from the National Museum arrived.
Measuring 60.7cm x 49cm and signed on the back by the artist, the oil on board ‘Portrait of Stanisław Witkiewicz’ by Jacek Malczewski was last seen in public in 1903 in Kraków.
Relatively unknown in her home country during her short lifetime, 19th century painter Anna Bilińska was a pioneer for female artists who followed, defying conventions, overcoming personal adversity and succeeding in attracting critical acclaim abroad.
Jacek Malczewski’s ‘unseen’ masterpiece the Spinner, which has remained hidden from public sight since he painted it in 1922, was sold at auction Sunday for an art market record.
The brainchild of artist Barbara Gortat from Fundacja Tu Brzoza, the ‘Folk Stops’ project transforms village bus stops into colourful galleries of art with reproductions of famous paintings from the Young Poland art movement.
Despite the economic downturn, sales of art have continued to exceed all expectations according to a report by Artinfo.pl.
VIDEO: 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.
The museum houses a huge collection of art and historical items, and has played home for Polish exiles.
The painting was held in the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw before the outbreak of the war. It will now be kept in strict quarantine for a week before undergoing conservation and taking its place in the gallery among other paintings by Malczewski.
Despite the continued lockdown in Poland due to the coronavirus, there is still an appetite for art, with turnover on the market increasing by 23 percent to reach an eye-watering 64.4 million PLN in the first three months of this year.