GESSEL for the National Museum in Warsaw
- Our firm is the founder and the main sponsor of the GESSEL Foundation for the National Museum in Warsaw (formerly the Foundation for Contemporary Art of the National Museum in Warsaw), in existence since 1996.
- The Foundation works to enlarge, store, and propagate holdings of contemporary Polish art.
- So far, we have managed to collect nearly 200 paintings, objects, graphics and installations by 21 artists.
In 2011, the Foundation made its collections available to a number of museums – works by Katarzyna Kozyra were shown at Zachęta and at the National Museum in Krakow. Some other works were loaned for the “KoLekcja w Królikarni” exhibition forming part of an educational programme about art genres and functions, with various components addressed to children and to adults.
To date, the Collection of the Foundation for Contemporary Art has assembled almost fifty paintings, objects, prints and drawings, and installations by nineteen artists. The oldest works date back to the early 1970s – Legality of Space by Ewa Partum, Tableau II by Grzegorz Kowalski, and drawings by Tomasz Ciecierski. The most recent ones, meanwhile, were executed in 2007 – the painting by Olga Wolniak and the installation by Julita Wójcik. The Collection includes pieces by some of the most renowned contemporary Polish artists – paintings by Tomasz Tatarczyk and Wilhelm Sasnal, sculptures, installations, objects, and photographs by Grzegorz Kowalski, Paweł Althamer, Katarzyna Kozyra, and Paulina Ołowska. Purchase of many of these works for the Collection was financed by GESSEL itself (in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007); we were also instrumental in gathering funds for other purchases, for example during GESSEL’s annual galas combined with art auctions held during the carnival period of the New Year and by promoting the Foundation among the Polish business community. Other sponsors financing the purchase of specific works include GE Bank Mieszkaniowy S.A. (1998), Felix Ahlers (2001), Frosta S.A. (2001), Wojciech Bruszewski (2002), Claire and Neal Selby (2002), Barbara and Krzysztof Nowakowski (2003), Sygnity S.A. (2003), Tomasz Sielicki (2004), Vattenfall Poland A.B. (2004), the Notarial Office of Dorota Kałowska (2004), and KornFerry International (2006).
The Points of Reference Exhibition
Between 25 July and 30 September 2008, the works assembled by the Foundation were presented to a wider audience during the Points of Reference exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw, with the GESSEL law firm as the main patron. On display were pieces by Paweł Althamer, Tomasz Ciecierski, Oskar Dawicki, Ryszard Grzyb, Kijewski/Kocur, Grzegorz Kowalski, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Robert Maciejuk, Paulina Ołowska, Ewa Partum, Joanna Rajkowska, Wilhelm Sasnal, Jadwiga Sawicka, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Olga Wolniak, Julita Wójcik, and Włodzimierz Jan Zakrzewski. The exhibition became one of the highlights of the cultural season, and it was well received by critics as well as by the museum-going public. In one of the over 100 press pieces dealing with the show, Piotr Kosiewski of “Tygodnik Powszechny” wrote that “Points of Reference shows one of the most interesting art collections created after 1989”.
Beata Gessel-Kalinowska vel Kalisz, PhD, on the exhibition and the Foundation
“With hindsight, I look back upon the difficult beginnings of the Foundation with some nostalgia. The very idea of cultivating a common good, as opposed to one’s own interests, was hardly popular in mid-1990s Poland, and the circle of contemporary art lovers was a relatively narrow one. With time, however, the group of people and companies supporting the collection expanded, and contemporary art became more of a mainstream pursuit. The Foundation played no small role in this latter trend, helping to popularise contemporary art – also in the business community. As we speak, we are marking the tenth anniversary of the first purchase by the Foundation for its collection, which has since grown to include over 40 works; the selection is praised by critics and appreciated by audiences. I am happy that this has been a success. My own work for the Foundation and my contributions towards its collection certainly flowed from a need to work pro bono, and I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that everything connected with the Foundation has been very enriching for me and, quite simply, has brought me much satisfaction”.
Since 2005, the Foundation has been a public benefit organization. We invite you to support the Foundation!
Account number: PL89 1140 1010 0000 4673 6900 1001
Selected works from the Foundation’s collection: