Paintings by Leon Wyczółkowski discovered during flat renovation in Bydgoszcz
During flat renovation in Bydgoszcz workers have found paintings. They decided to take them in order to sell them. It turned out the paintings were famous art works by Leon Wyczółkowski, for decades considered lost or destroyed in fire. Now, the workers will be brought to trial. Investigators are examining another thread in the case, namely, how the paintings found their way to a private flat.
Prosecutor's office in Bydgoszcz has just completed an investigation into discovery of art works by painter Leon Wyczółkowski and his belongings. The found paintings, that had belonged before the WWII to the then City Museum in Bydgoszcz, were long considered lost or destroyed.
It turned out, however, the art works were in a private flat in Bydgoszcz. It all came to light when a family decided to refurbish the flat and hired a renovating crew. Investigators managed to establish that two men had found the paintings during work and decided to sell them.
"The men have been charged of stealing several art works during renovation work. According to the investigation findings, they were not fully aware of the artistic and cultural value of the found art," said Agnieszka Adamska-Okońska, spokesperson for Bydgoszcz Prosecutor's Office.
The workers admitted their guilt and fully cooperated with the investigators. They also revealed other locations at which more art works could be kept.
In exchange for their cooperation, the suspects will be treated more leniently - the prosecutor has asked the court to serve them a suspended sentence of 11 months in prison.
That, however, does not end the case. The investigators are also looking into another thread, namely, how the paintings found their way into the private flat in Bydgoszcz. Several locations have been checked and several hypotheses have been formulated, yet the police would not reveal aby details.
The stolen collections have been returned to the museum in Bydgoszcz.
"We are delighted that the art works of our patron, Leon Wyczółkowski, are coming back where they belong, including archeological collections which had been the founding exhibits of our institution," said Anna Pruss-Świątek from the Leon Wyczółkowski Regional Museum in Bydgoszcz.
Leon Wyczółkowski (1852-1936) was one of the leading painters of the Young Poland movement. In the last dozens years of his life he was strongly attached to Gościeradz near Bydgoszcz, where he bought a country house for money he had received from Greater Poland Museum in Poznań in exchange for his collections. He lived and worked there for most part of the year, from spring to autumn. He was buried at a cemetery in a nearby Wtelno.
In 1924, Wyczółkowski established relations with City Museum in Bydgoszcz (today's Leon Wyczółkowski Regional Museum), where two exhibitions of his work were organised. After his death, in 1937, his wife Franciszka Wyczółkowska fulfilled her late husband's will and donated 410 paintings, 15 sketchbooks with 496 drawings, and 36 works by other artists to the Bydgoszcz Museum.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Wojciech Woźniak/Muzeum w Bydgoszczy