Biographical exhibition of Józef Mehoffer

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Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946), a student of Jan Matejko and contemporary of Stanisław Wyspiański, was one of the most eminent artists of the Young Poland movement. He was also active in the interwar period. Mehoffer practised easel painting and monumental painting (stained glass and polychrome), graphic art, and also worked in the field of utility art. His work is distinguished by its rich colour palette and decorativeness, as well as its saturation with elements of symbolism. He is known for his portraits of beautiful women, especially his wife Jadwiga, and for his accomplished illustrations and decorations of Chimera magazine.

He made his name on the European stage mainly due to a set of stained-glass windows he made for the cathedral in Freiburg in Switzerland in the period 1895 1936, but also for his many other works which were often presented at international exhibitions and honoured with awards. He decorated the interior of many cathedrals, including Wawel Cathedral. His works are exhibited in the most important museum galleries in Poland, and also in collections in Lwów, Vienna and Switzerland etc.

Józef Mehoffer bought the house on Krupnicza St. in 1932 and converted it into a family palace, decorating it with stylish furniture, paintings and decorative artworks, as well as his own work. 

After his death Mehoffer's family tried to preserve the decoration and furnishings of the house in their original form. Eventually, at the initiative of the artist's son Zbigniew Mehoffer, the idea was conceived to convert the house into a museum dedicated to the artist.

In 1986 the property was given over to the National Museum in Krakow, in accordance with the wishes of the artist's family. In January 1996, after the necessary renovation and conservation work had been carried out, the house was opened to the public as the Józef Mehoffer House, a branch of the National Museum in Krakow. The interior was decorated according to the artist's vision and its former style, a number of rooms even being faithfully restored according to their original design.

The house is complemented by a garden adjoining it on the southern side, which was carefully restored in 2003 to resemble as far as possible the original garden designed by Józef Mehoffer.

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