National Exhibition of Young Art. Warsaw 1955

Marek Obeländer, THE BRANDED 1955, oil on canvas, 81×100 cm, property of the Lubusz Museum in Zielona Gora, photo: MZL archives

The National Exhibition of Young Art was organized in Warsaw in the year 1955. The motto Against War – Against Fascism was added to the title by Polish authorities, who also provided the exhibition space in the former Arsenal building.

The idea of creating the exhibition came to be during the meetings of four ambitious and uncompromising painters: Janina (Janka) Jasińska, Jacek Sienicki, Marek Obeländer and Jan (Janek) Dziędziora.

According to the memoirs of Elżbieta Grabska (secretary of the exhibition, art historian and art critic), the exhibition was inspired by the idea of the Salon des Indépendants in Paris: It was supposed to be an open, liberal salon, where everyone could contribute ideas of their own.

The members of the organizing committee and jury were chosen during the national meeting of young artists, which took place in Warsaw on the 15th and 16th of January 1955. Aleksander Wallis was elected as chairman and Janina Jasińska as vice-chairman. Wojciech Fangor was assigned as chairman of the selection committee and Andrzej StrumiłłoZbigniew Kaja and Franciszek Duszenko were his deputies. Among the members of the committee were: Walerian Borowczyk, Klemens Felchnerowski, Tomasz Gelb, Zbigniew Głowacki, Wanda Gołowska, Andrzej Jakimowicz, Jadwiga Jarnuszkiewicz, Antoni Kenar, Janina Kosińska, Jan Lenica, Tadeusz Łodziana, Marian Malina, Stanisław Michałowski, Barbara Narębska-Dębska, Marek Oberländer, Julian Pałka, Jerzy Panek, Teresa Pągowska, Tadeusz Sieklucki, Ryszard Stanisławski, Roman Tarkowski, Andrzej Wajda, Marek Włodarski and Jan Zamoyski.

197 oil paintings, 58 sculptures and 244 drawings qualified for the exhibition. Among the awarded artists were Waldemar CwenarskiJan Tarasin and Marek Oberländer.

Many years later Elżbieta Grabska stated in her last interview: It was a revolt against conformity, against the consent for the status quo.

Selected works from the exhibition

Teresa Mellerowicz-Gella, WORLD OF STONE 1955, oil on canvas, 120×150 cm, property of Lubusz Museum in Gorzow Wielkopolski, photo: MLG archives
Marek Oberländer, ONIONS 1955, oil on canvas, 80×100 cm, property of Lubusz Museum in Gorzow Wielkopolski, photo: MLG archives
Bartłomiej Kurka, AN LUNGENENTZUNDUNG GESTORBEN 1955, oil on canvas, 115×135 cm, photo: MLG archives
Jerzy Ćwiertnia, DESIRE 1955, ink on paper, 40×29 cm, property of Lubusz Museum in Gorzow Wielkopolski, photo: MLG archives