Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Editor]
Artium Quaestiones — 30.2019

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A History of Polish Art by Michał Walicki and Juliusz Starzyński 71
that the system of the dependence of Polish art on the West was not dictated
by the postwar political alliances or prejudices and traumas from the times
of partitions. If such prejudices had mattered, they might have made Polish
art historians underestimate German artistic influences on Polish art in fa-
vor of the Romance countries. In fact, anti-German sentiments surfaced in
the book several times, e.g., when Walicki rather reluctantly accepted the
German origin of Wit Stwosz, but the artist's national identity in late me-
dieval period was, as it will soon become clear, fundamental for the essen-
tialist approach to art.* * * * * 11 On the other hand, the study presents an objec-
tive account of the art in the state of the Teutonic Knights (on the territory
which belonged to Poland since 1918) or the contribution of the neighboring
country in the west to Polish painting of the 15th century. The situation in
the 1930 was dynamic - there was a difference between 1934 and late 1938
- still, the Polish scholarly discourse contrasted with the condescending
and sometimes even aggressive tone of the German “Ostforschung' historio-
graphy. 12

S. Labuda, eds. K. Bernhardt, P Piotrowski, Berlin 2006, pp. 79-97. Discussions of that kind
occurred also in reference to major centers of European art, e.g., the Renaissance in France
as a phenomenon dependent or independent of the art of Italy See M. Passini, La Fabrique
de 1’art national. Le nationalisme et les origines de l'histoire de l’art en France et en Alle-
magne 1870-1933, Paris 2012, p. 9ff.
11 On Wit Stwosz, see Walicki, Starzyński, Dzieje sztuki polskiej, p. 1004 (108).
12 The aspects of a polemic with Germany in Walicki's studies have been stressed by
T. Zadrożny "Polska sztuka dawna z perspektywy 1939 roku," in: Wystawa nowojorska
1939. Materiały z sesji naukowej Instytutu Sztuki PAN, Warszawa, 23-24 listopada 2009
roku, ed. J. M. Sosnowska, Warszawa 2012, pp. 105-117. A different situation before 1939
was illustrated by a controversy of Mieczysław Gębarowicz with Pierre Francastel. The lat-
ter emphasized the role of Western, particularly French, stimuli in Polish art, diminishing
the importance of Geman ones, emphasized by Walicki in his study of the fifteenth-century
painting in French, published with an introduction by Francastel, who was the director of
the Institut Français in Warsaw, see footnote 18 below. Gębarowicz defended Walicki's opi-
nions (M. Gębarowicz, « La peinture polonaise à l'époque des Jagellons » La France et la Po-
logne dans leurs relations artistiques, Annuaire historique édité par Bibliothèque Polonaise
de Paris 1939, 1(4), pp. 355-365). His critique of Polish scholars dealing with the European
relations of Polish art and stressing, allegedly too much, its dependence on Germany Fran-
castel developed in his book L’historie de 1’art, instrument de la propagande germanique,
Paris 1945. See a review by Ksawery Piwocki, who argued that the French scholar was more
critical of Polish art history than of German nationalist art historians [Biuletyn Historii
Sztuki i Kultury 1948, 10(1), pp. 68-84, here p. 76). The question of the reconstruction of
foreign influences on Polish art was strongly politicized after World War II. See A. S. Labuda,
"Polska historia sztuki i 'Ziemie Odzyskane,"' in: idem, Z dziejów historii sztuki. Polska,
Niemcy, Europa, Poznań 2016, pp. 69-104, herep. lOlf.
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