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In 1918, the Szymanowski family lost the family manor in Tymoszówka, Russia. Karol Szymanowski lived in hotels, boarding houses, and with his family ever since. At the furnished Atma Villa rented in Zakopane, the composer lived between 1930 and 1935.
Two armchairs made by the Ład Artists Cooperative are the only pieces of furniture to have ever been bought by Szymanowski to furnish the Atma Villa.

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In 1918, the Szymanowski family lost the family manor in Tymoszówka, Russia. Karol Szymanowski lived in hotels, boarding houses, and with his family ever since. At the furnished Atma Villa rented in Zakopane, the composer lived between 1930 and 1935.
Two armchairs made by the Ład Artists Cooperative are the only pieces of furniture to have ever been bought by Szymanowski to furnish the Atma Villa. The museum collection still includes a photograph of Karol Szymanowski dated 1935, in which he is sitting in one of the armchairs in a study of the Atma Villa (inventory number: MNK-AT-280/3).
Today, the armchairs are a part of the villa's furniture again; they can be seen in a studio of the Karol Szymanowski Museum in the Atma Villa in Zakopane.

Elaborated by Lesław Dall (The Karol Szymanowski Museum in the Villa Atma in Zakopane), © all rights reserved

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“Ład” cooperative

The interwar period wast the heyday for many fields of art and the economy, including Polish industrial design. The trends in contemporary design were initiated by the cooperative “Ład”, founded in 1926 by the lecturers of the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw as a continuation of the concept of Kraków Workshops.

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The interwar period wast the heyday for many fields of art and the economy, including Polish industrial design. The trends in contemporary design were initiated by the cooperative “Ład”, founded in 1926 by the lecturers of the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw as a continuation of the concept of Kraków Workshops.
The projects of “Ład” combined tradition and modernity, simplicity and functionality. The artists who collaborated with “Ład” took inspiration from folk patterns. The furniture was made according to traditional techniques: individual elements were combined without screws and nails, ensuring a perfect finish.
The activity of the cooperative can be compared, among others, with the British Bloomsbury Group, which gathered together various artists including Virginia Woolf, her sister Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry. As with the Bloomsbury community, furniture, fabrics, ceramics, and functional items were created in “Ład”.
Weaving workshops were a very important place in the activity of “Ład”, where fabrics — curtains, upholsteries, kilims — were created (the historical wooden looms from “Ład”, which, in 2000, were moved to one of the greenhouses of the Royal Łazienki Park, are still in existence). In 2009, to save the workshop from separating the machines, they were entered into the list of monuments and sold to the Historical Museum of Warsaw, along with the pattern books.
As Lucjan Kintopf (co-founder and first director of the cooperative) wrote: “The main interest of the artists of Ład was spreading the culture of living and creating rationally designed interiors, and, at the same time, meeting the individual needs of an average wealthy family derived from the intelligentsia”.
However, the furniture of “Ład” was not cheap, and for many it was an extremely valuable asset. Maybe, this was the reason why Karol Szymanowski cared so much about the two armchairs, which he had bought in times which had been so difficult for him, for Atma, which he leased after losing his family estate.
Over recent years, cooperatives of every kind have been perceived as a relic of the PRL. The tradition, which disappeared after 1989, today, however, is experiencing its renaissance: for many young artists the creation of artistic collectives has become a counterweight to capitalist consumerism. It is an expression of social, participatory action, that sometimes brings unexpected results.

Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

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

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Two armchairs, the “Ład” Artists Cooperative

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