of items to the Department’s collection.
She initiated and authored numerous exhibitions, such as: From the Young
Poland to our Times (1958), In the Circle of the Rembrandt Tradition
(1961), The Formists (1985), as well as monographic exhibitions of specific
artists: Konstanty Brandel, Henryk Gotlib, Bronisław Wojciech Linke, Wacław
Wąsowicz. Irena Jakimowicz edited many albums devoted to contemporary
artists, such as: Józef Giełniak, Tadeusz Kulisiewicz, Jerzy Mierzejewski,
Edmund Piotrowicz. The crowning achieyement of her work was the great
exhibition Fwe Centuries of Polish Graphics in the National Museum in
Warsaw (1997) accompanied by a carefully edited book under the same title,
being in fact the first handbook on the history of Polish graphics from its
beginning in the fifteenth century to the modern times.
Among the great passions of Irena Jakimowicz was the work of Stanisław
Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), to diverse problems of which she devoted several
dozen of articles and an album monography Witkacy Malarz (Witkacy the
Painter) published in 1985, for which she was awarded a prize of the Polish
Academy of Science (1986). In 1989 she organised a large monographic
exhibition of Witkiewicz’s art, accompanied by a catalogue of his paintings,
including 3,073 items “collected” after years and years of research and quest
which often reąuired truły detective methods.
Irena Jakimowicz was always exceptionally conscientious in her work. Her
care for details was proverbial, as if at all times she was accompanied by these
words of Witkacy: “In art one cannot attempt; one must create, in a manner
of speaking, in a perfect trim”. She demanded this conscientiousness and
diligence both from herself and from her co-workers. We often resisted but
after so many years it became obvious how much we owe her...
In spite of a difficult temper, she was a model Boss and Mistress who did
not enviously guard her professional secrets but, on the contrary, did her best
to help the younger generation of art historians and museum keepers spread
their wings as early as possible. Sharing her staggering experience with us, she
taught us patiently how to take care of delicate, due to specific paper support,
drawings and graphics, how to match proper frames to enhance and stress
their beauty, how to arrange an exhibition in a elear, aesthetic way, to supervise
a lay-out of a catalogue, how to gather bibliography for a catalogue or an
article. She read our texts eagerly and carefully, never sparing due praise. She
knew how to be proud of us and to take joy in our success. In difficult times,
both professional and personal, she supported us with kind words and had
a right remark or, often enough, an appropriate ąuotation from Witkacy for
every occasion. Her passing away deprived us of all this forever...
Translated by Paweł Lipszyc