Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie — 40.1999

Page: 21
DOI issue: DOI article: DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/bmusvars1999/0023
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Krzysztof Zalęski

Stanisław Lorentz
as the Creator of the "Modern"
National Museum

“Collections are merely storerooms which become
museums only when the mind of a cultured scholar
and leader brings life to them.”

Stanisław Lorentz,
“W stulecie Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie”

Stanisław Lorentz (April 28, 1899 - March 15, 1991), whose 100rh birthday
we are celebrating, enjoyed a long and distinguished career, extending into
the current decade, as Poland’s unąuestionably greatest expert in the field
of museum science. The last Honorary Director of the National Museum in
Warsaw’s lengthy professional life was a phenomenon on a world scalę,
but it is not through the length of time but rather the multitude of its
accomplishments that we view the National Museum today through the prism
of years gone by.

Stanisław Lorentz began his university studies in art history in the academic
year 1917-18, when Poland was at the threshold of its independence. It was
then that for the first time favourable political conditions existed for the
conception of the development of a National Museum. The Museum of Fine
Arts, founded on the basis of a law of 1862 regarding “Public Education in the
Kingdom of Poland”, was transformed into a municipal institution under the
aegis of the City Administration. The position of Museum Director from
March 1, 1916, was held by Bronisław Gembarzewski, a painter and military
historian who was active in the Society for the Protection of Historical
Monuments. Beginning in 1920 he directed the newly opened Museum of the
Army, which was housed on the ground floor of the National Museum building
no. 15 Podwale Street; Colonel Gembarzewski served as director of both
museums. The Union of Połish Museums, created in 1914 and reorganised
in 1921, co-ordinated the activities of museums nation-wide and guided their
mstitutional development.

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