The National Museum in Wrocław
The National Museum in Wrocław is the biggest museum institution in Lower Silesia and one of the most important museums in Poland. Opened in 1948 as the State Museum, in 1950 it became the Silesian Museum, and finally in 1970 was appointed to the rank of the National Museum. It houses a remarkable collection of medieval art and also presents the works of Silesian artists from the 16th to 19th centuries, as well as a significant collection of Polish and European art. The Museum holding encompasses over 200 thousand units of virtually all domains of art, ranging over medieval stone and wood sculpture, painting, drawing, prints, photography and crafts, Silesian, Polish and foreign works of art. Apart from the main seat, the Museum currently has 3 branches: the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice, the Ethnographic Museum and the Four Domes Pavilion – the Museum of Contemporary Art, opened on 25th June 2016.
The Four Domes Pavilion – designed by a famous German architect Hans Polezig in 1912 and then called the Pavilion of Historical Exhibition – is part of a unique urban complex together with the imposing Centennial Hall designed by Max Berg and the adjacent former Exhibition Grounds. The Four Domes Pavilion served as an exhibition venue since its very beginning – in 1913 it was the place of the Historical Exhibition commemorating the centenary anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.
Until 1945, it occasionally housed art and industrial exhibitions and in 1948 was used as a venue for the famous Exhibition of the Reclaimed Territories. In 1953, it became part of the Film Studios in Wrocław, known for a number of distinguished films, including the iconic Ashes and Diamonds by Andrzej Wajda and The Saragossa Manuscript by Wojciech Jerzy Has. This resulted in major alterations of the building’s original structure and obliterated its original layout. The Film Studios’ prolonged decline in the 1990s resulted in the gradual dilapidation of the Four Domes Pavilion. In 2009, the Four Domes Pavilion was designated for the contemporary art collection of the National Museum in Wrocław. The overhaul to restore the building to its original function was completed in 2013-2015.
The collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, a branch of the National Museum in Wrocław, is one of the richest and most precious in the country. It contains over 20,000 items including all artistic disciplines from painting, graphics and drawing, to sculpture, glass, ceramics and photography, to environment, conceptual projects and documentation of art happenings.
The core of the collection comprises works by artists such as Jan Lebenstein, Alina Szapocznikow, Władysław Hasior and one of a kind collection of the works by Magdalena Abakanowicz.
The Four Domes Pavilion showcases the most captivating pieces from the Museum’s vast collection. The exhibition’s goal is to present the variety and complexity of modern art. Each section of the exposition illustrates in chronological order the most important artistic problems present in the art of the 20th and the 21st centuries. The theme and tone of the collection is set by artists of several generations, balancing between expression and metaphor under the influence of two artistic movements: Expressionism and Surrealism. The exposition also takes into account the artistic milieu of Wrocław.
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