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Zakopane style in miniature
The wooden mock-up of the Pod Jedlami House is definitely one of the favourite exhibits of visitors to the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa. Why is it so popular? It is definitely due to the artistry of completion and how it fires up the viewers’ imagination.

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Zakopane style in miniature
The wooden mock-up of the Pod Jedlami House is definitely one of the favourite exhibits of visitors to the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa. Why is it so popular? It is definitely due to the artistry of completion and how it fires up the viewers’ imagination. Some perceive the mock-up as a dollhouse, while others as a true work of art. Every visitor wants to look through the tiny windows and doors, looking for the miniature residents of this extraordinary exhibit. Its origins are associated with the Zakopane style and Stanisław Witkiewicz.
This real gem was made of several types of wood in the course of the last three months of 1899. The walls and roof structure were made of spruce, while the door frames, windows, posts, balconies, support beams and doors were made of pear-tree wood. The roof was finished with mahogany to complete the shingles. There are 8,000 of them cut out of cigar boxes. A whole team of Podhale cottage builders (Józek Giewont, Jaś Obrochta, Wojtek Gąsienica, Wojtek Źwijac, Józek Mikuda, Jędruś Walczak, Wojtek Bednarz, Wojtek Roj, Jędruś Gąsienica, Ignac Hoły, Józek Łuszczek, Suchecki, Wojtek Roj Scepancyn and Józek Szostak) worked on it under the direction of Stanisław Witkiewicz, founder of the Zakopane style. They did not limit themselves only to the recreation of the building form, but also made intricate decorations on banisters, door frames, window frames and doors. What is interesting is that the picturesque ornaments in the form of leluja and rosettes are not only limited to the exterior of the building. After opening it, one can also see them inside on the miniature support beams, door and window frames. They are made with the same utmost care as the ones on the outside.
Inspired by the traditional construction of Podhale, Witkiewicz started his campaign for the development of the first Polish national style. An ideal opportunity to enforce his theoretical assumptions arose when Zygmunt Gnatowski (wealthy land owner from Ukraine) decided to build a house for himself in a village near the Tatra Mountains. Witkiewicz took up the challenge and designed an impressive wooden building whose shape and structure drew upon the Podhale cottages and ensured great comfort. This first building was the Koliba villa on 18 Kościeliska Street. It was later followed by other projects.
The most impressive one is definitely the Pod Jedlami House built in Kozieniec in the years 1896/1897 for Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski. The discussed model was created two years after the completion of the construction. It was ordered by the Committee of the Art Department for Galicia in Kraków for the 1900 World Exhibition (Exposition Universelle) taking place in Paris. The fact that Witkiewicz and his art could participate in this exhibition was a sign of recognition for the Zakopane style, which was to be the Polish contribution to the rebirth of arts and crafts. The presentation was to cover the mock-up together with the photographs of buildings constructed according to Witkiewicz’s designs in Zakopane – a photograph of a highlander’s cottage and the plans for a brick house in the Zakopane style by Franciszek Mączyński (who later became the co-author of the Main Building of the Tatra Museum). Unfortunately, the situation became complicated in Paris. Mączyński’s plans were not sent due to the carelessness of their completion, and the model itself was placed at the wall in the room devoted to Kraków painters. Damaged in transport and dusty, it did not look its best, so it was soon placed in a chest, and Witkiewicz received a call to collect it as soon as possible, because the costs of storage in the then capital of art were very high.
This did not mean the end of the model’s career. Two years later, it was presented at the Kraków exhibition of the “Polish Applied Art” Society whose primary goal was to renew Polish applied art and create modern industrial patterns inspired by Polish folk art. All these measures were connected with the then political situation of the country and the preservation of national identity awareness, as well as the international Arts and Crafts Movement started in the last quarter of the 19th century in England.
The model found shelter in the branch of the Tatra Museum in Koliba villa. Together with the photographs of other projects in the Zakopane style, it tells the story of Witkiewicz’s concept.
The mock-up of the Pod Jedlami House completed its last journey two years ago when it went to Museo della Montagna in Turin where the Tatra Museum presented Podhale culture and art.

Elaborated by Julita Dembowska (The Dr. Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane), © all rights reserved

Read about the Pod Jedlami Villa on the website of the Małopolska Days of Cultural Heritage:

Pod Jedlami Villa, photograph from the Illustration Archive of Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny (Illustrated Daily Courier), from the National Digital Archives, 1918-1939.

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Applied arts in the Zakopane style

“Inside of this cottage everything bears the imprint of artistic preferences (...)”, wrote Stanisław Witkiewicz with regard to a highlander’s house. Applied arts, inspired by the region of Podhale, developed simultaneously with Zakopane style architecture. From the very beginning, Witkiewicz’s concept assumed the principle of completeness, i.e. creating architecture along with interior design, ranging from furniture equipment to the finest decorative details. Just as much as a highlander’s cottage was a model for architecture, its furnishing with particular items of equipment inspired stylish designs for furniture and applied art, because “all this had to be made of the material found in the forms existing in folk art”.

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“Inside of this cottage everything bears the imprint of artistic preferences (...)”[1], wrote Stanisław Witkiewicz with regard to a highlander’s house. Applied arts, inspired by the region of Podhale, developed simultaneously with Zakopane style architecture. From the very beginning, Witkiewicz’s concept assumed the principle of completeness, i.e. creating architecture along with interior design, ranging from furniture equipment to the finest decorative details. Just as much as a highlander’s cottage was a model for architecture, its furnishing with particular items of equipment inspired stylish designs for furniture and applied art, because “all this had to be made of the material found in the forms existing in folk art”.[2]
The forms of a highlander’s cottage were adapted to the requirements of more demanding clients. Witkiewicz believed that “the white chamber, almost unchanged, can be located in even very exquisite and rich apartments and constitute a splendid dining room”.[3] According to his conception, a highlander shape and appearance should be given to all interior elements and, therefore, elements should also be created which “obviously did not exist in a cottage and had to be produced in a fully independent manner under the influence of new emerging needs”.[4] In 1904, a new collective work entitled, the Zakopane style, was published for this purpose, edited by Witkiewicz. Volume I: the Dining room  was a furniture template set, which included designs of various new home equipment, as well as examples of the use of Podhale ornamental motifs. 
Therefore, the basic equipment of a highlander’s cottage, consisting of a table, chairs, shelves, boards, and storage space, constituted a pattern for this stylish furniture. Their form was primarily shaped by their function. They had a very logical structure, which, at the same time, constituted their artistic value (e.g. little pegs, overlap joints, or dovetail joints), and was more important than the surface ornamentation. The line, which decoratively followed all edges and clearances, was also of great aesthetic value. If these basic furnishings were created in the Zakopane style, they usually followed the model highlander form, adding variety to the details and decor. In order to design, for example, living room or office furniture, which was not originally in a cottage (“Washbasins and toilets, couches and armchairs, chaise lounges and stools, cabinets, mirrors, desks and a whole lot of other equipment”),[5]it  was based on the forms and construction of highlander equipment, compiling their elements into completely new furniture. A cupboard , for instance, was formed by combining a chest, table legs (called srogi) and a top unit modelled on a shelf, while the chair backrest or bed headboard were based on the design of a backrest of a sleigh.
The Zakopane style drew directly on the repertoire of Podhale ornamentation, mainly created using the technique of shallow carving. Geometric motifs, such as zigzagging, recica, cone, cross, as well as plant motifs: groves, martagon lily, parzenica, asphodelus, parnassia (a type of a thistle) and the famous “sunrise” were used, with the frequent additional use of openwork, gaps, and fenestrations.
Although objects in the Zakopane style was subjected to its prototype (highlanders’ furniture) in the field of form and ornamentation, artists were, in practice, more inclined to cater to the wishes of the clients, rather than rigidly adhere to the models. In addition, stylish items differed depending on the designer or contractor, who often worked out their own, individual style. It was important simply to convey the flair and style of Zakopane. After the successes of Witkiewicz’s first complete realizations in Zakopane — a villa with furniture —  the popularity of the Zakopane style continued to grow, and so did the demand for various products in this style. The orders “encompassed a huge range of life needs, from a ball gown to a chasuble; from a stool to an altar; from a spoon to a monstrance; from home to church”.[6]
Apart from Stanisław Witkiewicz, the main designers of stylized furniture were Wojciech Brzega, Wiktor Gosieniecki, and Stanisław Barabasz. Home furnishing and fittings were also made by highlanders, especially Maciej Sieczka, Jasiek Walczak (turner), Wojciech Gąsienica Roj (sculptor), and others. Interior designs also contained furniture made by the School of Wood Industry.
In fact, there exist only a few interiors designed by Witkiewicz; for example, the home furnishings of the Pod Jedlami house and the library in the palace in Kluczkowice. In contrast, the greatest activity in the field of furniture industry was developed by Wojciech Brzega, who ran his own workshop from 1903. He made various kinds of items in the Zakopane style there, in addition to creating sculptural works.

Elaborated by Paulina Kluz (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

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

Bibliography:
Teresa Jabłońska, Styl zakopiański Stanisława Witkiewicza, „Lamus”, 28 (2013), nr 2/12, p. 60–68.
Teresa Jabłońska, Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego im. Stanisława Witkiewicza: przewodnik, Zakopane 2002.
Jan Majda, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1979.
Zbigniew Moździerz, Dom „Pod Jedlami” Pawlikowskich, Zakopane 2003.
[Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski], O sztuce podhalańskiej, III: Sprzęt i zdobienie, [w:], Katalog Wystawy Podhalańskiej, Lwów 1911, p.12–20.
Stanisław Eliasz Radzikowski, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1901.
Barbara Tondos, Styl zakopiański i zakopiańszczyzna, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków 2004.


[1] S.E. Radzikowski, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1901, s. 13.
[2] T. Jabłońska, Styl zakopiański Stanisława Witkiewicza, „Lamus”, 28 (2013), nr 2/12 , s. 64; za: S. Witkiewicz, Styl zakopiański. Zeszyt I: Pokój jadalny, s. 367.
[3] S.E. Radzikowski, dz. cyt., s. 15.
[4] T. Jabłońska, Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego im. Stanisława Witkiewicza: przewodnik, Zakopane 2002, s. 38.
[5] Tamże.
[6] J. Majda, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1979, s. 22.

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Stanisław Witkiewicz vs. Imperial and Royal Professional School for Wood Industry in Zakopane

The first signs of interest in the culture of the highlanders emerged before Stanisław Witkiewicz’s arrival in Zakopane. The first Woodcarving School had functioned in this town since 1876. It was later renamed, the Imperial and Royal Professional School for Wood Industry (k.k. Fachschule für Holzbearbeitung in Zakopane), in which professional craftsmen were trained. The school operated under the rule of the Austrian occupier, and its curriculum propagated Tirol styles. Despite this, it was this school's pupils who created the first works inspired by the art of Podhale.

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The first signs of interest in the culture of the highlanders emerged before Stanisław Witkiewicz’s arrival in Zakopane. The first Woodcarving School had functioned in this town since 1876. It was later renamed, the Imperial and Royal Professional School for Wood Industry (k.k. Fachschule für Holzbearbeitung in Zakopane), in which professional craftsmen were trained. The school operated under the rule of the Austrian occupier, and its curriculum propagated Tirol styles. Despite this, it was this school’s pupils who created the first works inspired by the art of Podhale. During the years 1885 and 1886, under the supervision of the then school principal, Franciszek Neužil, a bed and room screen in the Podhale style were made, according to meticulously designed projects by Magdalena Butowt-Andrzejkowiczówna, on the special order of Countess Róża Krasińska. From the second half of 1880s, this decorative style became widespread in the School. Numerous furniture sets designed by Neužil were produced. These were of simple design, and the only thing that connected them with the highlanders’ culture was the abundance of applied ornamentation, hardly reminiscent of folk art. However, the principal himself was the first to describe them as the Zakopane style [zakopaner Style].
After settling in Zakopane, Stanisław Witkiewicz began to notice great potential in the production of the wood industry and the tradition of local wooden products. There was, after all, a school training professionals, as well as a large group of folk carpenters and craftsmen. However, Witkiewicz’s first contact with the Professional School for the Wood Industry did not bring the expected results. The school authorities still opted for Tyrolean-Viennese inspirations for their products. Apart from executing individual orders for sets of furniture stylized to look like Podhale art, highlanders’ patterns were simply considered “peasant” designs. Witkiewicz expressed the increasing antagonism between him and Neužil in the work Na przełęczy (On the col) (1890), in which he called the School “a seedbed of Tyrolean-Viennese taste, a German poison, killing the artistry of the highlanders”.[1] Undoubtedly, this situation encouraged Stanisław Witkiewicz to take up designing furniture and various equipment himself. The first example of this was the realization of (Villa) Koliba for Zygmunt Gnatowski.
In 1895, Edgar Kováts — a Hungarian — came to Zakopane to work as a teacher. In 1899, he became the new principal of the School. The Austrian authorities, in line with local politics, had become inclined to recognize highland designs as “the appropriate national style in Galicia”,[2] which was manifested in Kováts’s activity, especially in his book of templates entitled: Sposób zakopiański [The Zakopane way] (1899).
Kováts introduced his concept into the field of art with solid impetus, and he successfully competed with the Zakopane Style of Stanisław Witkiewicz. The highlanders’ culture, introduced by Kováts, entered the school’s programme, and the designs he proposed were adopted for use by craftsmen. Kováts won numerous orders and support from many personalities in the world of art. However, despite his all-out attack, Witkiewicz neither competed nor argued with him. He only emphasized that the Zakopane Style had nothing to do with Kováts’s proposals, and the two should not be confused. 
The Zakopane Style by Kováts proposed an eclectic formula. Witkiewicz accused him of superficiality in referring to the art of the highlanders, the use of forms other than Podhale art, as well as exaggeration in furniture and equipment decor. Kováts’s decorative patterns combined geometric, floral elements with Tyrolean motifs. They were overused and applied without full understanding of their purpose. The furniture and equipment were of conventional form, with variation added only by inlaid or carved ornamentation and decorative top panels.
The discussion about the priority of the “style” or the “manner” gained publicity, shaping artistic factions. Initially — supported by several architects — the superiority of “manner” was opted for, thanks to which, it was Kováts who participated in the preparation of the Galician Pavilion for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. And yet, the public debate between opponents and defenders of the Zakopane Style — who sometimes expressed their views via magazines and newspapers quite aggressively — restored favour to Witkiewicz’s style. Feliks Jasieński rightfully criticized the Paris Pavilion by describing it as “a synthetic-Slavonic-Byzantine-Kovátsov interior of a non-Polish home in a Polish manner”.[3] Over time, a broad group of Kraków artists and professors of the Academy of Fine Arts spoke in favour of the Zakopane Style, as subsequently did the Society for Polish Applied Arts, established in 1901.
Despite Witkiewicz’s ideological victory over Kováts, in practice, Zakopane carvers often used the Zakopane way in their designs, mixing its elements with Podhale art motifs proposed by the Zakopane style. An example of this is the library of the palace in Kluczkowice, which was constructed according to Witkiewicz’s design, although some of its decorative motifs were based on the Tyrolean patterns of the Manner. Such compilations resulted from Witkiewicz’s unclear method of drawing patterns from Podhale art, which was treated freely, as well as from the fact that his collaborators were very often professionally educated students and graduates of the School of Wood Industry.
Stanisław Barabasz, an artist and ethnographer, was the first Pole to be the principal of the School from 1901. From then on, relations between the School and Witkiewicz were normalized, because Barabasz “opened up this ‘chained-up’ institution to Witkiewicz’s concept” [4] by introducing the style of Zakopane to the School’s curriculum. The next principals were artists who had collaborated earlier with Witkiewicz, such as Karol Stryjeński and Wojciech Brzega.

Elaborated by Paulina Kluz (Editorial team of Małopolska's Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

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

Bibliography:
Teresa Jabłońska, Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego im. Stanisława Witkiewicza. Przewodnik, Zakopane 2002.
Jan Majda, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1979.
Zbigniew Moździerz, Dom “Pod Jedlami” Pawlikowskich, Zakopane 2003.
Barbara Tondos, Styl zakopiański i zakopiańszczyzna, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków 2004.


[1] T. Jabłońska, Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego im. Stanisława Witkiewicza. Przewodnik, Zakopane 2002,
 s. 19.
[2] B. Tondos, Styl zakopiański i zakopiańszczyzna, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków 2004, s. 85; za: M. Leśniakowska, Jan Koszyc-Witkiewicz (18811952) i budowanie w jego czasach, Warszawa 1998, s. 17.
[3] B. Tondos, dz. cyt., s. 92.
[4] J. Majda, Styl zakopiański, Kraków 1979, s. 8.

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Model of Villa “Pod Jedlami” (Under Fir-Trees)

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Model Willi pod Jedlami Tells: Piotr Krasny
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Model Willi pod Jedlami [audiodeskrypcja] Tells: Fundacja na Rzecz Rozwoju Audiodeskrypcji KATARYNKA
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