Police investigate double theft of artwork believed lost in WW2
Works from a collection of art by the painter Leon Wyczółkowski believed destroyed in World War 2 restored to the Museum in Bydgoszcz
The Museum in Bydgoszcz has recovered a number of works from a collection of art by the painter Leon Wyczółkowski which had been believed destroyed in World War 2.
As it proved, the collection had been held in a private home in Bydgoszcz. Some months ago, during renovation work of the apartment, a number of pieces were stolen by the renovation workers, who then attempted to sell them. As a result, police managed to trace more than 400 objects from the collection – as well as artwork, books and furniture which had belonged to the painter. Those items which have been identified against a catalogue of art lost in wartime compiled by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, have been restored to the Museum.
Police are now conducting two investigations, also attempting to establish how the objects came to be held privately.
In an interview for Polish Radio, specialist in art lost in wartime Roman Kudelski has said that milions of objects belonging to Poland’s cultural heritage have still not returned. Among others, according to estimates done in the 1950s, these are about half a million works of art.
He also said that efforts were still underway to recover the missing objects: „Our manifold actions have been successful. However, the extent of actions by the proper ministry could be wider. Often we wait for information to appear somewhere abroad. But I believe we could be more active. From the end of World War 2 until today, our country has not established any formal, scientific entity which would systematically research wartime losses in culture. We have no repository of data. Such systematic research would certainly support the whole process” he said.
The most precious painting lost in wartime and still missing is Rafael’s Portrait of a Young Man.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVPInfo, http://muzeum.bydgoszcz.pl/