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of the Malbork
Castle Museum
The History of Biennale and the Collection

Biennale

The International Biennial Exhibition of Modern Exlibris in Malbork is the world’s oldest artistic event which every two years, since 1963, has presented current works within the field of dedicated graphic miniatures..

 
 

Wojciech Jakubowski born in 1929

 

The Biennial is organized by the Castle Museum in Malbork. It was initiated by the exlibris competition for the newly established castle library, announced in 1963 by Henryk Raczyniewski, head of the Museum of Malbork. Upon the initiative of  Henryk Raczyniewski and Wojciech Jakubowski a prominent graphic artist and long term Commissioner of the Biennale, the competition turned into a presentation of works of the most outstanding Polish and foreign artists who specialize within this field of art. The first edition of the competition also became the beginning of the Biennial of Malbork and the collection of exlibris which has been created here.  In the 54 year history of this artistic event, 25 competitions and post competitions exhibitions took place. The curator of the Biennale since the 20th edition is the custodian Bogumila Omieczynska, who has been associated with the Malbork Biennale for nearly 35 years.Three and a half century of this artistic event saw twenty-three competitions and post-competition exhibitions. The high artistic level as well as the workshop craft of the works presented here by the modern masters of engraving and aqua-fortis etching techniques brought to the exhibitions of Malbork the fame of a prestigious forum of the best worldwide achievements within this cameral field of graphics.

 

The Biennial has a character of an open competition and has been organized mainly for graphic artists and students of the last year of artistic studies. The jury assess and qualifies engravings for exhibitions as well as grants regulation awards. Authors of the best exlibris receive cash awards and equal distinctions in the form of Honour Medals. Additionally, the head of the Castle Museum grants an award for the most interesting exlibris dedicated to the Museum of Malbork. The range of the competition awards also includes the awards sponsored by national institutions and private persons. Traditionally, since many years the award is granted by the President of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers as well as the Association of Polish Bibliophiles in Warsaw and the Mayor of the City of Malbork. There are two additional unique awards granted within the competition since 2000 and 2002, i.e. the Commemorative Medal named after Janusz Mikołaj Szymański and the Golden Graver Prize named after Henryk Feilhauer. Both of them have been sponsored by the families of the deceased: Janusz Szymański (1938-1998), bibliophile and collector, esteemed expert of exlibris as well as Henryk Feilhuer (1942-1999), master of the engraving technique, prominent medallist and painter.

 

    

Bogumiła Omieczyńska

 

Owing to the support of Polish and foreign authorities, the Castle Museum in Malbork was inscribed into the world list of members of the International Federation of Associations of the Exlibris Enthusiasts (Fédération Internationale des Sociétes d’ Amateurs d’ Ex-libris, abbreviated FISAE). This very important event for the Museum of Malbork took place during the meeting of delegates of the 28th FISAE Congress in Boston (USA) on 23rd August 2000. Another event which brought esteem for the Castle Museum in Malbork for the organization of the Biennial of the Exlibris took place in 2007. The Museum of Malbork was distinguished with the Honorary Certificate named after Helmer Fogedgaard for outstanding achievements in popularization of the exlibris as well as development of collection movement within this field of art, for several years of tradition in the organization of the international competition and exhibitions of the dedicated exlibris as well as for the publishing activity within this field. The certificate was signed by Josef Burch, 31st President of FISAE Congress for the years 2006-2007 (Switzerland).

 

certyfikat honorowy

Helmer Fogedgaard Certificate of Honour


Collection


The Castle Museum in Malbork possesses the unique and worldwide representative collection of modern exlibris. It consists more then 22 000 museum objects, works given by the artists who participated within all of the previous twenty-three post-competition exhibitions hosted in 1963-2013.


The collection also consists of works purchased by the Castle Museum on auctions as well as given by the collectors.


An important part of the collection of Malbork is constituted by authorship graphic files of prominent Polish and foreign artists, such as Tadeusz Cieślewski Junior, Adam Młodzianowski, Wojciech Jakubowski as well as prints consolidated with original copies, among which we may find seven catalogues from a limited series of publications accompanying the FISAE (Fédération Internationale des Sociétes d’ Amateurs d’ Ex-libris) congresses.


The museum collection of the exlibris consists of big sets of works of the most outstanding graphic artists from the whole world but their crucial part is constituted by the exlibris made within the last fifty years by authors representing the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe, mainly Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria as well as Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Belorussia. A vast part of the collection of Malbork is constituted by a set of remarkable works of graphic artists from Japan, Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany and Hungary. A small percent of the collection consists of the exlibris which are different from the point of view of form and style. They were made by graphic artists from Mexico, Argentina, Columbia and Uruguay.


The collections are clearly dominated by works made by the most talented Polish graphic artists, masters within this field of art, such as: Krystyna Wróblewska, Halina Pawlikowska, Alina Kalczyńska, Józef Gielniak, Stanisław Dawski, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Adam Młodzianowski, Jerzy Panek, Henryk Płóciennik, Leszek Rózga, Wojciech Jakubowski, Włodzimierz Kotkowski, Ryszard Stryjec, Eugeniusz Get Stankiewicz as well as Krystyna Hierowska, Małgorzata Hołówka, Elżbieta Radzikowska, Hanna Głowacka, Henryk Feilhauer, Wojciech Łuczak, Zdzisław Maj, Wiesław Szamocki, Zbigniew Janeczek and Piotr Gojowy.


The castle collection also consists of unique sets of works of the most excellent foreign graphic artists, such as: Albin Brunovsky, Stano Dušik, Vladimir Gažovič, Peter Augustović and Katarina Vavrova; from Czech Republic, amongst other: Vladimir Suchanek, Jiři Brázda, Karel Beneš, Jindřich Nowak and Karel Demel; from Lithuania - Gražina Didelyte, Stasys Eidrigevičius, Nijolé Šaltenyté and Marius Liugaila; from Russia - Michaił Wierchołancew, Anatolij Kalasznikow, Vladimir Zujev, Yuri Borovitski, Nikolai Batakov, Ewgenij Bortnikow and Sergej Tjukanow; from Ukraine - Konstantin Kalynovych, Oleg Denysenko, Arkady Pugachevsky and Gennadij Pugachevsky; from Belorussia - Gennadij Wjal, Lev Alimov, Ivan Rusachek, Ana Tikchonova and Jurij Jakovenko; from Bulgaria, amongst other: Nikolai Yanakiev, Robert E. Baramov and Krikor Kassapian as well as representative from Japan, amongst other:. Keisuke Serizawa, Koji Ikuta, Shigeki Tomura and Takao Sano; from Germany, amongst other: Tomas Ranft, Karl-Georg Hirsch and Egbert Herfrth; from Italy: Italo Zetti and Pietro Paolo Tarasco; from Netherlands - Wim Zwiers and Cees Andriessen; from France Helene Nue and Lou Strik; from Belgium Martin R. Baeyens as well as many other outstanding graphic artists from other countries of Europe, Asia and both Americas.