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Polish Posters of the 20th Century

The collection of posters in the Polish Museum of America is most interesting due to its variety. The oldest posters date back to World War I. Many of them were designed by Władysław T. Benda and printed in the United States in conjunction with the campaign undertaken by Ignacy Jan Paderewski on behalf of Poland and the Poles in America. A significant part of the collection comes from the period between the wars, covering the entire range: informational, propaganda, and commercial; and all of the mediums of the artists: fine arts, architecture, and photography. The Museum has preserved a poster collection of historical value from World War II, issued by the Bureau of Propaganda and Information of the government-in-exile in London, and by other Polish organizations active abroad. The largest part of the collection is the post-war Polish Poster, generally recognized and highly prized, created by Tadeusz Gronowski and Tadeusz Trepkowski, and also by Roman Cieślewicz, Janusz Grabiański, Jan Lenica, Jan Młodożeniec, Franciszek Starowieyski, Waldemar Świerzy, and others.

Art Collections

Initially, the Museum of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America was focused chiefly on the gathering of historical materials, but changed its profile in 1941when it came into possession of exhibits from the Polish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939–1940. Paintings, graphics, sculptures, and objects of artistic craftsmanship were a significant component of this exposition. Their arrival began the collection of art, which expanded systematically by way of purchases and donations. At present, they may be separated into several large groups: the above-mentioned exhibits from the New York World’s Fair of 1939–1940; the paintings and graphics of the People’s Republic of Poland; Polish posters of the 20th century; and the art of individuals whose work consists of 20 or more creations each: Władysław T. Benda, Marian Kratochwil, Stefan Mrożewski, Michał Rekucki, and Maria Werten.