The Puławy collection was partly destroyed after the November 1830 Uprising and the confiscation of the Czartoryski properties. Most of the Museum holdings, however, were saved and moved to Paris, where they reposed at the Hôtel Lambert. In 1870 Prince Władysław Czartoryski decided to move the collections to Kraków, where they arrived in 1876.
The Museum's main facility closed for restoration in 2010 and reopened in December 2019. During this time, parts of the collection were displayed at other venues.
Princess Izabela Czartoryska founded the museum in Puławy to preserve Polish heritage in keeping with her motto, "The Past to the Future." The first objects in her "Temple of Memory" of 1796 were trophies commemorating the victory against the Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.
The Museum collections feature historical artifacts from the recovered treasures of the Wawel Cathedral, the Royal Castle and other objects donated by Polish noble families (szlachta). Izabela also bought the treasures of the Duke of Brabant, including his books which were considered a particular highlight of the collection. Influenced by the Romantic artistic movement, she also acquired objects of sentimental significance that represented the glory and misery of human life. Among these were Shakespeare's chair, fragments from the alleged graves of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, ashes of El Cid and Ximena from the Cathedral of Burgos, and relics of Abelard and Heloise, and Petrarch and his Laura. The library's book collection was later enhanced with Tadeusz Czacki's collection, which included archives of Stanisław August Poniatowski, last king of Poland.
Upon Prince Adam Jerzy's death, his younger son, Prince Władysław, took over the museum. A born collector, he and his sister, Princess Izabela Działyńska, expanded the collection to include: the Polonaise carpet, Etruscan and Greek vases, Roman and Egyptian antiquities, and other types of arms and armours, as well as Limoges enamels. At the 1865 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, Władysław created a Polish room to exhibit the famous carpet and other parts of his collection.
In 1871, after the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Prince Władysław packed or hid all of the artifacts and fled. In 1874, the city of Kraków offered him the arsenal in the Old Wall as a museum, which he called upon Viollet-le-Duc to renovate, who in turn delegated the project to his son-in-law Maurice Ouradou. In 1878, one hundred years after Princess Izabela set up her museum in Puławy, the new museum, as it is seen today, was opened. Prince Wladyslaw continued to add items to the collection for the next twenty years, until his death in 1894.
Władysław's son, Prince Adam Ludwik, then carried on the work of his father. In 1897 he took over the Sieniawa Ordynacja property from the Emperor Franz-Joseph. At that point his capital assets were estimated at 4.5 million Austrian Crowns, not including the Collections. In 1899, Adam Ludwik's aunt Izabela bequeathed the Gołuchów Estate, with all the collections that she had bought with her beloved brother Władysław, to her two nephews, and Prince Adam Ludwik cared for both Museums.
Dresden and back
He then travelled to Japan and acquired the vases and bronzes still displayed today at the Goluchow Castle. In 1914, he was called up to the Austrian Army and his wife Princess Maria Ludwika Krasinska took over the Museum, taking most of the important artifacts (52 paintings, 12 carpets, 35 folders of prints and drawings, and works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Rembrandt) to Dresden because of her connections with the Royal Saxon Family. These works garnered great interest, with the collection being open to the public two days a week.
In 1918, after the war, Hans Posse, Director of the royal collections, was unwilling to return the collection. He was fearful of the unrest in Poland. However, after two years of negotiation, all objects were recovered and transferred to the Family Museum in Kraków in 1920. The signing of the 1921 Treaty of Riga provided for the return of all looted or confiscated objects during tsarism due to the Bolshevik revolution.
In 1931 a large number of important books, archives and objects that had been taken from Puławy by Russians in 1831 - immediately after the November Uprising - were also returned, though most of these were placed in various national depositories.
In 1937, after Prince Adam Ludwik's death, his son Prince Augustyn, took over as head of the family. He married Princess Dolores Victoria Maria de las Mercedes de Borbon y Orleans and spent most of his time in Poland. Then, in August 1939, Europe was thrown into turmoil with the events of World War II, and the museum was forced to prepare for war. Sixteen cases packed with the most precious objects were transported and stored in Sieniawa, while the rest of the collection was carried down to the cellars of the museum, where unfortunately the Germans found the cases and looted the tradable objects. Luckily, although the Leonardo and other pictures were roughly handled, they were not damaged.
On September 22, 1939, Prince Agustyn removed what remained of the treasures and took them to his cousin's property in Pełkinie. However, soon afterward the Gestapo found the cases and took them back to Kraków, though not to the museum. On January 25, 1940, the final selections of the 85 most important items from the Museum were sent to Dresden, where Dr. Posse, Hitler's plenipotentiary, decided that all objects were to be part of the Führer's own collection at Linz. From that moment the museum, whose curator was to die in a Nazi concentration camp, was closed to the public.
In 1945, Dr. Hans Frank, German governor of Poland and personal friend of Hitler, brought the paintings from Berlin for his own use at Wawel Castle. But when the Germans evacuated Kraków in January 1945, he took the paintings with him to Silesia and then to his own villa in Neuhaus. The Americans arrested Dr. Frank on May 4, and the Polish representative at the Allies Commission for the Retrieval of Works of Art claimed the stolen paintings on behalf of the Czartoryski Museum. However, the Raphael and 843 other artifacts were missing from the collection. The whereabouts of these works, remain unknown to this day.
Masterpieces plundered from the Czartoryski Museum
The Mother of God with the Child, 1470s, tempera on panel. Stolen by the Nazis.
Saint with a Book, 15th Century. Stolen for Adolf Hitler's planned Führer Museum in Linz.
Madonna with Child (triptych), 14th Century. Stolen in WWII.
After World War II
After World War II, the Museum was reopened and operated by Poland's communist government. Amid the country's desperate economic situation, the Museum survived thanks largely to the work of Professor Marek Rostworoski, who dedicated his life to the collections. In 1991 the High Court of the Nation[clarification needed] returned the Museum to its rightful owner, Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski, along with the library housed nearby; from 1961 the library had been located in a building at ulica świętego Marka (St. Mark's Street). In 1971 the Czartoryski Library was recognized as National Library[clarification needed].
The Library's collections include many extremely important European historical documents: a total of 224,576, including 70,009 books published before 1800, 13,552 manuscripts, and 333 incunabula. The Library comprises a "Prints and Cartography Division" and a "Manuscripts and Archives Division". The President of the Institution[clarification needed] is Jolanta Lenkiewicz. The Library's books may be consulted only on the premises.
In 2010 the Museum closed for repairs and modernization. Parts of the collection were temporarily displayed in other venues. 350 selected items were shown in the Arsenal building, while the Lady with an Ermine was displayed in the Kraków National Museum.
In 2016 the collections and Museum building were donated by Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski to the Polish Nation on his behalf and that of his direct ancestors of the Czartoryski Main Branch State Treasury.[clarification needed] The Princes Czartoryski Foundation received from the Polish Nation (the Ministry of Culture) $105 million, constituting less than 5% of the 3 billion euros estimated market value of the collections. The agreement also transferred to the Polish State the rights to any future claims to works of art that had been plundered from the collections.
The restored museum reopened on December 19, 2019.
The donation of the Czartoryski Museum to the Polish Nation has been challenged by Prince Adam Karol's daughter Tamara, leading in 2018 to intrafamilial litigation between Adam Karol and his daughter.
Puławy is a city in eastern Poland, in Lesser Poland's Lublin Voivodeship, at the confluence of the Vistula and Kurówka Rivers. Puławy is the capital of Puławy County. The city's 2019 population was estimated at 47,417. From 1846 to 1918, during the partitions of Poland, it was known as Nowa Aleksandria, or Nowo Aleksandria. Its coat of arms is the Pahonia.
Elżbieta "Izabela" Dorota Czartoryska was a Polish princess, writer, art collector, and prominent figure in the Polish Enlightenment. She was the wife of Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and a member of the influential Familia political party. She is also known for having founded Poland's first museum, the Czartoryski Museum, now located in Kraków.
"Mold of the Earth" is one of the shortest micro-stories by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus.
Prince Władysław (Ladislaus) Czartoryski was a Polish noble, political activist in exile, collector of art, and founder of the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków.
The House of Czartoryski is a Polish princely family of Lithuanian-Ruthenian origin, also known as the Familia. The family, which derived their kin from the Gediminids dynasty, by the mid-17th century had split into two branches, based in the Klevan Castle and the Korets Castle, respectively. They used the Czartoryski coat of arms and were a noble family of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century.
Princess Tamara Laura Czartoryska is a Polish-Spanish former model, television star, and aristocrat. She is the daughter of Prince Adam Czartoryski y Borbón, who was born in Spain, where he grew up with his first cousin, King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
The Lady with an Ermine is a portrait painting widely attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. Dated to c. 1489–1491, the work is painted in oils on a panel of walnut wood. Its subject is Cecilia Gallerani, a mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan; Leonardo was painter to the Sforza court in Milan at the time of its execution. It is the second of only four surviving portraits of women painted by Leonardo, the others being Ginevra de' Benci, La Belle Ferronnière and the Mona Lisa.
Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski is a Polish and Spanish aristocrat who is head of the Polish House of Czartoryski. He is related to both the Spanish royal family and to France's House of Orléans. In 2016, he sold the family art collection held in the Czartoryski Museum to the Polish state for approximately €100 million.
Prince Augustyn Józef Czartoryski was a Polish noble (szlachcic). He was the son of Prince Adam Ludwik Czartoryski and Countess Maria Ludwika Krasińska.
Prince Adam Ludwik Czartoryski was a Polish nobleman, landowner, and patron of the arts. He was the son of Prince Władysław Czartoryski and Princess Marguerite Adélaïde Marie of Orléans.
The National Museum in Kraków, popularly abbreviated as MNK, is the largest museum in Poland, and the main branch of Poland's National Museum, which has several independent branches with permanent collections around the country. Established in 1879, the Museum consists of 21 departments which are divided by art period: 11 galleries, 2 libraries, and 12 conservation workshops. It holds some 780,000 art objects, spanning from classical archeology to modern art, with special focus on Polish painting.
The Royal Casket was a memorial created in 1800 by Izabela Czartoryska. The large wooden casket contained 73 precious relics that had once belonged to Polish royalty. The casket was inscribed: "Polish mementos assembled in 1800 by Izabela Czartoryska." It once reposed in the Temple of the Sibyl at Puławy.
The Temple of the Sibyl is a colonnaded round monopteral temple-like structure at Puławy, Poland, built at the turn of the 19th century as a museum by Izabela Czartoryska.
Portrait of a Young Man is a painting by Raphael. It is often thought to be a self-portrait. During the Second World War the painting was stolen by the Germans from Poland. Many historians regard it as the most important painting missing since World War II.
Princess Izabela Maria Sanguszko, in Polish Izabela Maria z książąt Lubomirskich księżna Sanguszkowa was a Polish noblewoman.
Princess Maria Czartoryska, was a Polish noble, writer, musician and philanthropist.
Landscape with the Good Samaritan is a 1638 oil-on-oak-panel painting by Rembrandt. It is one of only six oil landscapes by the artist and with The Girl in a Picture Frame and The Scholar at the Lectern, it is also one of only three Rembrandt paintings in Polish collections. It shows the parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke.
The Czartoryski Palace is a palace in the town of Pulawy, Poland, whose origins date back to the second half of the 17th century and are related to the history of the magnate families: the Lubomirski, Sieniawski and, above all, the Czartoryski family.
Johann Zacharias Frey, or Jan Zachariasz Frey was an Austrian engraver and painter who spent most of his career in Poland.