May 6, 2021

Contemporary Art Collectors in Poland

Olga Winiarczyk

Weronika Daniluk


In the context of the auction of Piotr Bazylko Collection, it is worth recalling the profiles of several collectors of contemporary art. In recent years, the trend of interest private collectors had in the latest art has been developing increasingly. This tendency has a significant impact on the formation of the international art market, so it is not surprising that more and more people in Poland also look at modern art not only with a sensitive but also investment eye. The selection and acquisition of works for the author's collection is a challenge, but it brings a lot of satisfaction and can become a fascinating search for new forms of experiencing art or life in general.



Grażyna Kulczyk


The most famous Polish art collector is also a culture promoter. She began to develop her passion while studying law, starting with collecting Polish art, gradually extending it to international works. One of the manifestations of her visionary thinking became "Stary Browar" and the Art Stations Foundation gallery located there. This way her evergrowing collection could be presented to a wider audience. In her investments, Grażyna Kulczyk follows the 50-50 rule, where business calculation and socio-cultural activities are divided into a half-half proportion of equilibrium.

From 2019, Grażyna Kulczyk's collection is permanently on display at the Susch Museum, among the remains of a medieval monastery in the Alpine region. In addition to exhibitions, she holds experimental projects, lectures and residency programs. The Susch Museum is a space for discussion and research on contemporary art, especially regarding the understanding of the work of female artists. The collection is largely focused on conceptual art, primarily related to the art circle of Central and Eastern Europe. In the area belonging to the museum, there are site-specific, in situ works, as well as individual spaces created for permanent exhibition for the works of artists such as: Monika Sosnkowska, Mirosław Bałka, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Heidi Bucher, Zofia Kulik, Paulina Ołowska, Joanna Rajkowska .

The inaugural activity of the museum was the exhibition "A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women" curated by Kasia Redzisz, which raised many key issues for the theory of feminism in its various aspects.

Jerke museum, source: WikiCommons


Anna and Jerzy Starak


Works from the collections of Anna and Jerzy Starak can be viewed at the headquarters of Spectra Holding in Warsaw, owned by the couple. Some of the works gathered there create a representative overview of Polish art from the post-war period to the newest. The main part of the collection is abstract painting of the 50's, 60's and 70's expressing the owners' fascination with the artistic life of that time. Part of the collection made available to the public includes works by artists such as: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Władysław Hasior, Edward Krasiński, Jerzy Nowosielski, Roman Opałka, Andrzej Wróblewski.

The private collection of Anna and Jerzy Starak made available in the spaces of buildings at ul. Bobrowiecka is a cultural proposal, modeled on global practices, which enriches the offer of museums and other cultural institutions, implementing the assumptions of corporate social involvement.


As said by Jerzy Starak, the decision to open a collection is a transition from "having" to "being":

"In retrospect, I look at the path that I have gone through with curiosity - from a enthusiast who buys works of art for his own satisfaction to a collector who is aware and obliged to support, disseminate and at the same time create the phenomena of contemporary culture. Therefore, today the main motivation is to create a museum collection that reflects not only passion of an enthusiast, but also a researcher who makes choices dictated by knowledge, vision and a sense of responsibility. "

(P. Bazylko, K. Masiewicz, op. cit, p. 133)


Krzysztof Masiewicz


Krzysztof Masiewicz is passionate about Polish contemporary art, which he willingly talks about and writes about, popularizing the trend of creating original art collections. In his texts, he cites the stories of works, artists, the contexts in which they function, as well as the emotions they evoke. Among the first deliberate purchases by Krzysztof Masiewicz were the works of Jarosław Modzelewski, which defined the preferences and foundations of the newly created collection. When selecting works, he is guided by his own preferences, including those related to the generational relationship of contemporary artists. Krzysztof Masiewicz points out that the most interesting aspect of collecting art is gaining knowledge and creating a collection, and not the mere fact of having it.

The memory of the beginning of the acquaintance with Piotr Bazylko appears in the jointly written "Guide to collecting the newest art":

"It happened in 2006. I auctioned the work of Jakub Julian Ziółkowski at a charity online auction. He was not a very well-known artist then, so I expected an easy prize. It turned out, however, that Jakub's works were bought by someone else. I managed to snag some works, including a photographic portrait of Paweł Althamer (signed by him) by Krzysztof Gierałtowski. Despite everything, I was disappointed. When I picked up my work, I ran out of money and had to go to an ATM. When I returned, someone was picking up "my" Ziółkowski. and it turned out that I had auctioned off "his" Althamer. I asked if he would like to exchange. The next day the e-mail replied: "We're swapping". This person was obviously Krzysztof Masiewicz, with whom we quickly became friends. "

(P. Bazylko, K. Masiewicz, op. cit., s. 349)

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