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TWO CALIFORNIA COLLECTIONS
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Abakan Noir, 1973 Courtesy of Piotr Urbanowicz and Hanna Dowoyna Sylwestrowicz
The largest collection of Polish contemporary art in any American museum is the one at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. It is one of the fruits of an outburst of cultural exchange that occurred when excitement about the Solidarity movement in 1980/81 stirred a heightened interest in the art and politics of Poland and Central Europe. An exhibition Une Experience Museographique, Echange Artistes 1932-1982, Pologne-USA at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1982 brought together the works of Polish and American artists. It was organized by Polish art critic Anka Ptaszkowska in cooperation with Pontus Hulten, the director of MOCA in L.A., and Ryszard Stanislawski, director of the Museum of Art in Lodz, Poland.
Following the Paris exhibition, 60 works by California artists were given to the Museum of Art in Lodz, and the works of 15 Polish artists were donated to MOCA, forming the basis of its present collection.

The second largest such collection was built up over the years since their arrival in the U.S. in 1952 by a Polish couple, the late Dr. Witold Sylwestrowicz and his wife, Hanna Dowoyna Sylwestrowicz, whose home in Bernardsville, New York thus evolved into a kind of informal embassy of Polish culture, now housed in her new home in Santa Monica. Selected paintings have been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
July 2022
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