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.
We buy, receive and collect... items of everyday use – the faithful companions of our reality. We try to surround ourselves with those objects that make us happy, those which make our hearts beat faster, and those to which we feel sympathy at first sight.
Wojciech Brzega was a designer of furniture which can be found in the collection of the Pieniny Museum, and which was made in the Zakopane style at the request of Jan Wiktor, a writer. The most impressive exhibit is an oak sideboard. It is one of the elements of a full set of furniture in the Zakopane style which can be found in the Pieniny Museum.
Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collection of the Art Department of the Tatra Museum also includes a rich set of furniture. The visitors are particularly attracted to the Zakopane-style furniture. A desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega can be seen, among other things, on permanent display at the Museum of the Zakopane Style at the Koliba Villa.
“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”.
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.
On utility and artistic national duty... Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collections of the Art Division at the Tatra Museum also include a rich collection of furniture. Visitors pay the greatest attention to the ones in the Zakopane style. The permanent exhibition at the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa features, among others, a desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega.
Small is beautiful... Museums are usually associated with large cool rooms with beautiful paintings hanging on the walls and accompanied by remarkable sculptures. In this totally undisturbed silence the works arouse universal respect and admiration. Are museums just about paintings and sculptures?
Everyday companions We buy, receive and collect... items of so-called everyday use that are faithful companions of our reality. We try to surround ourselves with objects that bring us pleasure, that cause our hearts to beat faster and that we take a liking to at the first glance. The space that surrounds us is important. We run away from “ordinariness” and “mediocrity.” We always try to decorate it somehow. The same applies to the past. In the second half of the 19th century in England, artists who were dissatisfied with mass machine production started the Arts and Crafts Movement. They wanted to re-create what was beautiful and noble in everyday-use objects. This initiative reverberated throughout the whole of Europe, including also Poland of that time.
Maria Dembowska, along with her husband, Bronisław, gathered one of the first ethnographic collections of the Podhale region). One of the items she donated to the Museum in 1922 was a wooden model of a church chalice designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz...
Intimate conversation One of the major institutions in Zakopane was the School of Wood Industry. It was founded upon the initiative of the Tatra Society in 1876 as a wood carving school “to support the poor highland population and local industry”, over time it became an important point on the cultural map of Zakopane because it educated many artists who made great contributions to its art.