Zacheta National Gallery of Art - Warsaw
Warsaw's most famous art gallery, with continuous exhibitions and events.
Zacheta National Gallery of Art is Best For
Directions to Zacheta National Gallery of Art
The Zacheta National Gallery of Art is one of Poland's most established centres of contemporary arts. Located in the centre of Warsaw in a handsome neo-classical building adjacent to the Saxon Gardens, its purpose has been to develop and support Polish contemporary artists. Exhibitions by foreign artists have helped reinforce the gallery's reputation abroad.
Prior to 1860, Poland did not have any public museums or galleries. With permission from the then ruling Russians, the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts was set up. Some forty years later the Society's official headquarters, designed by Warsaw architect Stefan Szyller, were opened. Szyller's plans called for two additional wings, although it wasn't until the post-WWII reconstruction that these wings were finally added. Inscribed above the elegant portico is the Latin word 'Artibus' - 'To the Arts'.
The permanent collection at the gallery comprises mainly pieces by Polish artists from the 20th century. Initially the bulk of the collection came from bequests and donations. Nowadays the older collection is deposited in the National Museum in Warsaw where it forms the core of the Gallery of Polish Art. After the Second World War, the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts was replaced by the Central Bureau for Art Exhibitions, which was responsible for disseminating the official ideology of Polish art and artists. Post-1989 the gallery returned to a less centralised approach, and in 2003 was renamed as the National Gallery of Art.
An adjunct to the main gallery is the Kordegarda Gallery, a short distance away off Nowy Swiat Street, which has a more independent approach and tends to focus on younger artists. The intention is that the exhibition space be as much a part of the show as the exhibits themselves.
Just as important as the gallery itself is the attached library, which archives and documents Polish artists since 1945, as well as containing a huge collection of catalogues, books and magazines both Polish and foreign. There is a bookshop on the ground floor where one can buy books and catalogues of exhibitions past and present at both Zacheta and Kordegarda.