Feliks Jasieński collected art for thirty years of his life. The collection numbered about 15,000 items and included paintings and graphics from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a set of Asian art objects, carpets, kilims, furniture and arts and crafts, as well as a library. The unique collection became a testimony to the time of its creator, who initially collected works in his apartment, and then, on 11 March 1920, donated them to the city of Kraków...
In One hundred views of Mount Fuji, Hokusai brilliantly displayed his virtuosity in drawing and creating an unusually slick and innovative composition by using mere outlines, which were often very delicate, and flat patches of greys of various shades. The artist depicted the elegant and simple shape of Fuji in numerous well-thought-out contexts, taking into consideration all possible points of view: different times of a day (at dawn, sunset, dusk), in various weather conditions (in beautiful weather, stormy weather, bright sunlight and mist), from different sides, both from near and far. The mountain frequently consists of a dominant feature, but in other cases it is reduced to a small patch in the distance and one needs to look closely for it among other details.
Toshūsai Sharaku is one of the most enigmatic Japanese artists. The woodcuts signed with his name come from the period between May 1794 and January 1795. A total of about 150 Sharaku card images depict actors from the Kabuki theatre; these are projects with a completely different new form of expression, often close to a caricature.
Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.
Beautiful women of the oiran offered an attractive subject for artists dealing with Japanese wood engravings; it peaked in the Edo epoch (1603–1868). Elusiveness and passing, so strongly featured in the philosophy of this period, made people seize the current moment and celebrate the joy stemming from watching flowers or admiring the Moon.
The crane is one of the most important symbols of longevity in many Asian countries. When it is depicted in combination with other symbols, it takes on an additional, slightly different meaning, which is often deeper than the original one. This majestic bird with its beautiful body and feathers has become one of the most important symbols of the culture of Japan, as the Japanese are a people who observe the surrounding nature carefully and draw a lot of inspiration from nature.
Utagawa Hiroshige occupied a special place in the collection by Feliks Jasieński: the collection gathered more than 2,000 woodcut boards by this artist. The abundantly represented landscape genre helps us appreciate Hiroshige as an artist who was considered to be the master of recreating the mood created by snow, rain and fog.
The collection of military items from the Far East in the National Museum in Kraków includes over one thousand exhibits, from which the most numerous are Japanese works. Armours and helmets belong to extremely valuable specimens and although they mostly come from the Edo period (1603–1868), we can admire the Japanese masters’ superb craftsmanship in them.
This piece of furniture is an example of the small cabinets that were popular in the 2nd half of the 17th and the 1st half of the 18th century. Its typical elements include a small wooden body with a folding door, small drawers, a hiding place, and a metal open-work decoration on the sides made of engraved iron sheet with a set of stylised plant motifs, figures of people, angels, and animals.
The portable shrine with the image of Senju-Kannon Bodhisattva (Japanese: Bosatsu) was made with the use of the most valued techniques, and the precision of the fine exposure of details emphasises the high class of the exhibit.
This painting, characteristically shaped as a vertically extended rectangle, is a portrait of the artist's wife against a background of the interior of a summer apartment. This piece was created in 1904 in Zakopane, where the Mehoffers rented a newly completed wooden highland house for a few months.
Wyspiański left twelve self-portraits. Every one of them is a fascinating record of the physical change and current emotional state of the artist according to his often-repeated belief stating that “man (...) changes irretrievably; they are changed by their experiences and thoughts. A portrait is a reflection of a moment, an artistic reflection seizing things in their very essence.”
Feliks Jasieński (1861—1929), pseudonym “Manggha”, the outstanding connoisseur of art, patron and collector; he was broadly educated and talented musically. He exerted a considerable influence on the art culture of Kraków at the turn of the 20th century by his activity in the field of arts, his views, publications, and also by making the gathered collections available, including the rich collection of Japanese and Western European drawings and utilitarian objects from the Far East.
The idea of a comic strip about Feliks Jasieński, the Centre's patron, was the brainchild of Andrzej Wajda. The artwork was produced by Jakub Woynarowski in 2010, and it tells the story of a superhero – a Polish collector of Japanese art entangled in affairs of a social and health nature. Jakub Woynarowski keeps the story in perspective by using quite sophisticated, although simple looking means of expression – foreshortening, synthesis, as well as undertones.
Portraits of children occupy a special place in Wyspiański’s artistic oeuvre. Without the unnecessary sentimentalism, treated in a natural, affectionate manner with a great dose of sensitivity and realism, and captured in new and unexpected depictions, they refreshed the usual connotations related to this genre.