Muzeum Historyczno-Etnograficzne im. Juliana Rydzkowskiego w Chojnicach

2016 - Cultural heritage. Folk and traditional culture.

For the purpose of preserving, documenting and enabling the publishing of the artistic legacy of an outstanding folk artist representing the southern part of Kashubia – Józef Chełmowski from Brusy-Jaglie, the Julian Rydzykowski Historical and Ethnographic Museum in Chojnice undertaken in 2016, a long-term museum programme focused on the researching and stock-taking of the artist's heritage. Its first stage is the project entitled:

Józef Chełmowski, a research query with an inventory of the works in private collections. Restoration to the public domain

Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as part of the programme: Cultural heritage - Folk and traditional culture.

The objective of this project is to document and archive the body of works of the last authentic folk artist from Kashubia, focusing on the part of the heritage kept in private collections, inaccessible to a wider audience. The unique sculptures, bas-reliefs, roadside and garden shrines, paintings on glass, wood and canvas, wooden toys and instruments, made for the numerous guests visiting Józef Chełmowski in Jaglie, have been scattered all over Poland and the world, often finding a new place as a Kashubian trace in the ethnographic collections of the Polish folk art, a souvenir of friendship with the Artist, or a document of summer travels around Kashubia.

Józef Chełmowski, born in 1934 in Brusy, was an outstanding ambassador for the traditional values of his region and the principles of the folk aesthetics, a man of unique personality and a wide range of interests; a sculptor, a painter, a constructor, a philosopher, a collector of monuments of material culture and folklore. From 1978 he was a member of the Association of Folk Artists. His achievements in the area of folk art were recognised with the presentation of the Oskar Kolberg Award in 1995, the Pomeranian Artistic Award in 2004 and the Gloria Artis Medal in 2006. He died in 2013, leaving a unique artistic output reflecting his specific perception of the world, which has not so far been researched and recorded. The legacy of his hard-working, creative life remains in his home, in museums and other cultural institutions, and in private collections. This project involves the stock-taking research of the part of his output which is the most hidden, scattered or inaccesible to the general public, collected individually, apart from the artefacts which survive as parts of museum collections.

This project will result in the restoration of as many works as possible to the public domain, in the form of this website, created especially for that purpose. The website fulfils the function of a monographic online display aimed at popularizing the works of Józef Chełmowski, which represent the unique cultural values of the Kashub region.

We are using this website to invite collectors – folk art lovers and private owners of the works of Józef Chełmowski, to contact the museum in Chojnice and enable us to prepare a descriptive and photographic documentation of the works owned by them, in order to expand the catalogue of the Artist's works.

The application form can be found under the tab: Contact.