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The year 2019 marks the centenary of the signing of the Franco-Polish convention of September 3, 1919, “relating to emigration and immigration,” which led to a massive influx of Polish workers to France, and more specifically, to the mining region in the country’s north. To commemorate this important event for the territory’s identity, the Musée du Louvre-Lens will hold a large retrospective of 19th-century Polish painting, organized jointly with the National Museum in Warsaw.

The exhibition will retrace this unique time in the history of Polish culture, during which, despite the country’s division between Russia, the Austrian Empire, and Prussia, artists created a true Polish identity, which has since been referred to as “Polishness.” It will present the way in which artists, drawing inspiration from national history, landscapes, and peasantry, created images of Poland for Poles, as well as for the rest of the world. Generous and evocative, their painting was frequently on the cutting edge of European pictorial styles of the era.

Thanks to prestigious loans from Polish national museums, the exhibition will gather some 150 paintings dating from 1840 to 1918 by the most renowned Polish painters, including Matejko, Chełmoński, Malczewski, and Kossak.

Organized by:

Iwona Danielewicz and Agnieszka Rosales, National Museum in Warsaw; Marie Lavandier and Luc Piralla, Musée du Louvre-Lens. Assisted by Caroline Tureck.

Practical information

From September 25, 2019 to January 20, 2020

Musée du Louvre-Lens