Michalik’s Cave with Wyspiański’s drawings?

Located close to the municipal theatre (today the Słowacki Theater) and the School (later Academy) of Fine Arts, this confectionery quickly became the favourite meeting spot for the circles of young Cracovian painters.
Today, there are legends about how meticulously the owner – Jan Michalik – kept his accounts. If one of his guests ordered something on credit which they could not immediately settle, the confectioner would promptly send a dunning letter. In fact, the guests paid him with something much more valuable by leaving their drawings and sketches on the walls, which are worth a fortune nowadays. Had it not been for a combination of circumstances, the Cave could boast of a more splendid decor.
An offer for painting the confectionery was submitted by Wyspiański, declaring that if only Michalik would sponsor him with paints (costing a dozen or so guilders at that time), the artist would paint the main room of that establishment overnight. “And you declined the offer?” enquired Boy-Żeleński. “Well, that wasn’t very clever of me ... I thought: a renovated confectionery, what would it look like, they would laugh at me ... and I do regret it now”[1].
The drawings were often made in such a way that the guests painted and sketched on a piece of paper, which they then handed to the owner for binding.
The presence of distinguished artists brought him fame and considerable wealth. Jan Michalik, oppressed by the  denunciations of the housekeeper, Mrs Witoszyńska, who kindly informed the Austrian authorities that the confectioner had white bread, which was not allowed at the time, wanted to get rid of the premises at some point. He only did so in 1918, selling it to Roman Madejski (formerly an employee at the Cave) and to Franciszek Trzaska.

Read more about the legend of the “Green Balloon

Don’t miss the dolls from the “Green Balloon nativity scene in the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums:
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Juliusz Leo

Elaborated by: Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.


[1] T. Żeleński (Boy), About Cracow, edited by H. Markiewicz, Kraków 1974, p. 113.