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Zdzislaw Beksinski A Tale Told by Shadows

From June 9th to September 5th, the Polish Museum of America in Chicago is hosting an exhibit of the paintings and photographs of Zdzisław Beksiński.

In the year 1960, the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) met in Krakow. An exhibition of the works of young Polish artists accompanied the meetup. The abstract reliefs of Zdzisław Beksiński in particular evoked delight, which prompted the presiding president of AICA, the director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, to grant Beksiński a scholarship to study in the United States. Beksiński declines the offer because he chose to move away from abstract works and towards new concepts – ones in which his expression will be totally independent of the dominating tendencies, trends, and expectations of critics.

The exhibition in Chicago will be a unique historical event. Although Zdzislaw Beksinski’s works are in the private collection of Roman Polanski, Chip Joslin, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Jerzy Skolimowski or Donald Sutherland, and are esteemed by the director Guillermo del Toro, their exhibition in the Polish Museum will be the first time they are presented in the United States.


Beksiński didn’t like exhibitions, and never attended them. As an artist he was a loner, he didn’t participate in the artistic social scene, didn’t belong to any art groups, and never accepted awards. The largest and most important collection of his works is located in the Historic Museum in Sanok – his birthplace.


Beksinski didn’t like public talks about his paintings. He was scared, that what he will say, will be later changed, shortened, got out of context. Perhaps it’s due to the fact, that huge amount of his works were born in his subconscious and it was impossible, even for him, to interpret his paintings in any way. What for? Painting is for watching, not for interpreting.

Wiesław Banach
Polish art historian, director of the Historic Museum in Sanok

In Poland, he had more than 80 exhibitions organized primarily by the Sanok Historical Museum. The largest and most important collection of his works is located in the Historic Museum in Sanok – his birthplace. His works are also featured in all major museums in Poland (Warszawa, Kraków, Gdańsk, Poznań, Wrocław, Bydgoszcz), in numerous private collections in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Japan, and the United States.


This event has been made possible due to the cooperation of the Historical Museum in Sanok, the National Museum in Szczecin, as well as help from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.


The exhibit has been endorsed by the following people:


The exhibit will be host to the US premiere of the VR based presentation of Beksinski’s work, De Profundis.


Zdzislaw Beksinski in Poland had more than 80 exhibitions organized primarily by the Sanok Historical Museum. Abroad he had the following exhibitions:

  • 1961 Germany, Köln, collective exhibition in Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie
  • 1971 Sweden, Göteborgs, collective exhibition in Göteborgs Konstmuseum,
  • 1972 Hungary, Budapest, collective exhibition
  • 1972 Italy, Florence exhibition
  • 1974 Germany, Köln, exhibition of paintings in Karstadt-Haus Gallery
  • 1976 Belgium, Brussels, individual exhibition of drawings Simone von Dormael
  • 1978 Italy, Florence individual exhibition of paintings in The Bafomet Cultural Center
  • 1979 Germany, Köln, individual exhibition of paintings in Karstadt-Haus Gallery
  • 1982 Italy, Modena, individual exhibition of paintings in Gallery Il Torchio
  • 1985 France, Paris, individual exhibition of paintings and drawings from Dmochowski’s collection in Valmay Gallery
  • 1986 France, Paris, individual exhibition of paintings from Dmochowski’s collection in Valmay Gallery
  • 1986 France, Paris, participation in a few collective exhibitions in Grand Palais, Galerie Aeroport d’Orly Sud
  • 1986 France, Bouffemont, participation in collective exhibition
  • 1987 France, Paris, exhibition from Dmochowski’s collection in Grand Palais, Galerie Aeroport d’Orly Sud
  • 1987 France, Paris, exhibition of drawings in Polish Institute
  • 1988 France, Paris, individual exhibition in World Heritage Centre, UNESCO
  • 1988 France, Paris, individual exhibition in Valmay Gallery
  • 1988 France, Metz, individual exhibition in Cultural Center
  • 1988 Germany, Dusseldorf, individual exhibition in Ars Polona
  • 1988 France, Monte Carlo, collective exhibition
  • 1989 France, Paris, exhibition in Gallerie Dmochowski
  • 1991 France, Paris, Museum-Gallery Beksinski
  • 1992 Germany, Freising, exhibition in Kunsthaus Dr. Hans Hartl
  • 1994 France, Paris, exhibition in Gallerie Dmochowski, Museum-Gallery Beksinski
  • 1994 Germany, Bonn, prestigious exposition “Europa, Europa”
  • 1990 Japan, Osaka, exhibition of paintings in Toh-Ou Museum (Eastern Europe Museum)
  • 2007 Slovakia, Medzilaborca, exhibition of paintings in Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art
  • 2010 Belgium, Brussels, exhibition of paintings in European Parliament
  • 2013 Austria, Vienna, exhibition of paintings “Zdzislaw Beksinski – Darkness of the subconscious” in Phantastenmuseum
  • 2015 France, Paris, “Beksinski and others artists” works from private collection in Galeria Roi Doré
  • 2017 United States of America, Chicago, “Zdzislaw Beksinski A Tale Told by Shadows” for the first time in US
  • June 9, 2017 - September 5, 2017
  • 11:00 - 16:00

Great Hall

Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall was originally designed as the auditorium for the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America headquarters. In 1939, it was adapted for the needs of the Museum. The center space of the Great Hall presents rotating temporary exhibitions of documentary and historical content, as well as art and artists, both local and international.

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