Sept. 24, 2022

"I believe that art must live" - Grażyna Kulczyk

And, in collaboration with DESA Unicum, she is selling a portion of the most significant pieces from her collection, announcing a new phase in her activity: the collector is going to focus mainly on promoting women's art in the years to come.


Between 18–20 of October 2022, DESA Unicum will host the auction of nearly 200 exceptional works from the well-known collection of Grażyna Kulczyk. This is the most significant and unprecedented event of its kind in both the history of the Polish art market and our region. Works by Tadeusz Kantor, Wojciech Fangor, Henryk Stażewski, and Jerzy Nowosielski, as well as contemporary Polish and international artists, will be included in the auction. These pieces have long been hard to access on the market. Never before have so many outstanding works of art from such a well-known international collector been included in the Polish auction house's offer; her collection is the most important in Poland, being brave, well-selected, marked by courage and unique style. The part of the collection for sale includes pieces by well-known avant-garde classics as well as lesser-known works that the collector herself brought to light by recognizing the talent and potential of their authors. The auction organized by DESA Unicum is divided into as many as five catalogs, which will undoubtedly bring a jolt of energy to the Polish market and also spark a lot of interest outside of Poland. In addition, the project marks a turning point in the collector's social activities because, in addition to expanding her collection and supporting the Art Stations Foundation and the Susch Museum, Grażyna Kulczyk now wants to devote all of her time and resources to the promotion of women in the art world.


Collecting – Mission, Education, Passion


"The sale of works from Grażyna Kulczyk's collection is the most significant event on the Polish art market because it does not only assemble exceptional expressions of artistic creations that inspire and elicit admiration but also, like its owner, it is a symbol of incredible courage and faith in the driving force of art. This view is expressed both in the choice of the artworks, which represent the most significant postwar and contemporary art movements and media, as well as in the role that the collection has played in public life. At the same time, this collection reflects the directions of the art market for a reason-Grażyna Kulczyk's great agency and her choices as a collector have had a significant impact on the environment as a whole. It is not an exaggeration to say that the collector's decisions have motivated others to take courage. For others, it has given them the ability to see potential where she first did. This is the role of the project that we are pleased to present to you."

– Agata Szkup, the President of the Management Board of DESA Unicum  - 

"I am deeply convinced that this event will act as if it were a steroid that was injected into the tissue of the art market. Thanks to the collection, the market shifts its perspective, gains momentum, self-reflects, and the auctions spark interest among collectors. In a sense, the collection's owner exposes her passion, taste, and sensitivity to the world, and the buyers give these works new life in new contexts. We take great pride in the fact that our institution and team, thanks to years of experience, are now able to manage this massive undertaking-this auction is an event on a truly international scale and level. 

"Today, we present to you a remarkable collection of nearly 200 works, which have been carefully chosen and compiled into five thematic catalogs: Avant-garde, Classics, Passion, Zoom, and Discoveries. Where did the idea to sell the works come from? Over the years, these works brought me a lot of joy and served their purpose in my collection. It is now time for them to move on; I don't want to keep them away from the world. I think they can contribute to starting or expanding a lot of other collections, inspire people, and help collectors promote art. And I'm going to follow my path in the direction that has been closest to me for a long time: I'm going to commit 100% of my energy to support women in the art world. Linda Nochlin, an American art historian, wrote a well-known essay in the 1970s: "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" There have been, but nobody talked about them, nobody knew who they were, no one promoted them, and their work was often credited to others. The history of art was written by men. The men who created works, who bought them, and who promoted them. I feel like I can contribute to making a difference. I see this auction as a natural next step; everything I have done, from founding the Old Brewery and participating in councils of international museums and foundations to opening the Susch Museum, has allowed me to influence reality through culture. I very much believe in such a power of art. I am convinced that this force must be used to, on the one hand, sow ferment and generate an energy impulse for other collections; and on the other hand, to support the role and position of women in the modern world. Today, I can and I want to use my resources to give women a voice. And to this, I will devote the years to come"  - 

– mówi Grażyna Kulczyk.

GK Collection and DESA Unicum – Common Mission


The key, which unites the philosophy of Grażyna Kulczyk and DESA Unicum auction house, is a missionary approach to business and long-term social involvement in the promotion of art and its importance for culture, education, and development. 


The collection of Grażyna Kulczyk, who has been included for many years in the Top 200 Collectors list of the esteemed Artnews magazine, is just one aspect of her extensive activities in the field of art promotion. The collector is also well-known for her major investments, such as the Poznań Old Brewery, which was referred to as the largest private Polish cultural institution for years (over 1,500 cultural events in almost 20 years), or the Swiss Susch Museum, situated between Davos and St. Moritz, which attracts thousands of guests from all over the world with its permanent exhibition of extraordinary works by Polish artists, as well as with temporary exhibitions promoting the works of outstanding female creators. The collector has long been active in promoting art from Poland and its region. The Santander Foundation in Madrid hosted an exhibition of more than 100 pieces from her collection a few years ago, which was one of the largest exhibitions presenting Polish modern art abroad in history. The Art Stations Foundation, which has been operating for almost 20 years, also serves as a permanent platform for the implementation of her broad social mission, dealing with the organization of exhibitions, performances, and concerts, issuing publications, carrying out educational programs, and promoting contemporary art in everyday life.

"From the beginning, DESA Unicum has been guided by the idea of education and market development, laying solid substantive, legal, and formal foundations that customers and artists will benefit from. Over the years, we have developed relationships with numerous investors and collectors, mostly Polish but also from abroad, who expand their collections with our expert assistance. In the past, we undertook very ambitious challenges, developing ground-breaking auction projects for the Polish market or purchasing works of art that were long thought to be lost or unavailable to the general public"

– Juliusz Windorbski, the President of DESA S.A.


Today, DESA Unicum is the only auction house in Poland that can handle such a complex project, which is the sale of almost 200 artworks from the collection of Grażyna Kulczyk. The substantive content of the collection was developed by a team that regularly arranges auctions of contemporary art, young art, and photography. The coordinators have a lot of experience in researching and estimating the value of artwork from the corresponding time periods. They were responsible for both the works that broke auction records and those that had previously been unappreciated, ignored, or undervalued in the art market. 


The exhibition of the works is available for viewing at DESA Unicum, Piękna 1A in Warsaw from 4 to 20 October.
The auctions will take place from 18 to 20 October 2022.