Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) is perhaps the most important of all early twentieth-century Polish artists. Like his contemporaries Mondrian and Kandinsky, he looked for new ways to integrate spirituality into art. He found music and photography indispensible tools in this respect. In Eastern Europe, Weiss is an iconic figure in art history, whereas in Western Europe he has largely escaped attention. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is seeking to change this with this first retrospective of Wojciech Weiss’s work ever to be held outside Poland. A marvellous opportunity to discover this great artist.
Wojciech Weiss lived through tumultuous times. He experienced the First World War, with its dramatic impact on the map of Europe. Poland was reconstituted, only to be torn apart by Hitler and Stalin in 1939. Up to the Second World War, European society was internationally minded and artists travelled the world. They networked across national borders and kept an eye on the foremost developments in Paris, Munich and Vienna. For example, Wojciech Weiss was a member of the Vienna Secession, where he exhibited side by side with Gustav Klimt and Dutch artist Jan Toorop. The descent of the Iron Curtain put an abrupt end to this east-west cross-fertilization within Europe and led to a one-sided art historical account of the period around 1900. A half century of separation created such a cultural rift that – despite the end of the Cold War and the growth of economic relations since then – it is only now that this limited vision of artistic developments is starting to be corrected.
The exhibition is being held in close cooperation with the Wojciech Weiss Museum Foundation and various private collections and museums, including the National Museum in Kraków, the Kraków Historical Museum, the National Museum, Poznań and the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw.