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The exhibit in question is a glass ashtray with a rectangular base with hollows for cigarettes on longer sides. The base features a stuck colour photograph in the size of a postcard representing the Spa House in Krynica. The lower middle section of the image features an inscription: “Curhaus — Krynica”.

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The exhibit in question is a glass ashtray with a rectangular base with hollows for cigarettes on longer sides. The base features a stuck colour photograph in the size of a postcard representing the Spa House in Krynica. The lower middle section of the image features an inscription: “Curhaus — Krynica”. The “Old Spa House” Sanatorium, representing the Neo-Renaissance style, is located at 2 Leona Nowotarskiego Street by a promenade at the foot of the Park Hill by the Band Shell and the Main Pump Room. It has its own ball room. The ashtray and the colour photograph were made in the 1920s. Krynica is a health-resort that developed thanks to Józef Dietl’s work. The Józef Dietl Memorial in Krynica features an inscription: “To the Reviver — Krynica”.
The ashtray is redolent of the smoking fad, especially popular in the 1920s, also in Krynica where numerous holidaymakers travelled for better health. Just imagine, one of the famous personalities treated in Krynica could have used it...
Tourist kitsch documents social life, and its history is extremely interesting. The ashtray in question is redolent of kitsch rather than of Krynica. Kitsch that is indestructible (smoking cigarettes no longer being in, though). One could write an essay on kitsch based on this little exhibit! Kitsch is a piece that has a mediocre value, pandering to popular tastes, having no artistic value. This is, however, a topic elaborated by the likes of Abraham Moles (Le Kitsch, l’art du bonheur), Hermann Broch (Essays about Kitsch), Marek Hendrykowski (Niedyskretny urok kiczu [Indiscreet charm of kitsch]), Susan Sontag (Notes on Camp), Maria Poprzęcka (Czy sztuka daje się oceniać? [Can art be evaluated?]), Andrzej Banach (O kiczu [About kitsch]) and Theodor W. Adorno (Sztuka i sztuki: wybór esejów [Art and the arts: a selection of essays]).

Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Glass ashtray with a postcard representing the Spa House in Krynica

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