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Museum of Caricature (Warsaw)

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Address: Kozia 11 Warsaw, Poland / Telephone: +48 22 827 88 95

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      12.10.2011 17:55
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      Museum featuring Polish caricaturists

      I first came across the Museum of Caricature when I was out one cold winter's morning last year. I was wandering around the Old Town in Warsaw looking for photo opportunities and somehow walked on to a street that I hadn't seen before. I spotted the museum because of the metal jester's hat swinging over the doorway. The museum is located on Kozia street and the building which the museum is housed was once called The Gardener's House which was part of the Primate's Palace. I had a free afternoon last week and thought I would pop along to see a special exhibition that I had seen advertised in one of the local papers. I will tell you a bit more about that later but first, some information about the founder of the museum. Eryk Lipinski was a Polish master of caricature, graphic designer, founder of the Polish Poster School and political satirist who died twenty years ago. In 1978 he founded this museum which covers two halls dedicated to his work, friends and colleagues. He gifted his own collection of caricatures and archive to the museum; a collection that consists of drawings, portraits and engravings as well as magazines from all over Europe. To commemorate his death a special exhibition has been set up, called, 'The Eryk and Zuzanna Exhibition'. It has been showing since September 26th and runs to November 27th. An interesting collection which Eryk started in 1957 featuring a collection of cartoons and drawings he collected for his daughter, Zuzanna. His daughter was 11 years old when he started to put together this collection. The aim of the collection was to collect as many drawings of his daughter as he could by his fellow artists. Over the years this collection grew into a large amount of cartoons and sketches made by some very famous cartoonists. Not all were Polish - some were from other parts of the world. A few famous names like: Jean Effel, Ralph Steadman, Roland Topor, Jerzy Flisak and Raymond Petynet. These are only some of the cartoonists I have heard of but there are drawings exhibited by many more International artists. The displays of all cartoons and drawings are well set out with each drawing framed separately. Every drawing/painting is labelled clearly with the title of the drawing, when it was drawn and who by. Caricature isn't my favourite form of artwork although I can appreciate that Lipinski was very skilled and some of his more colourful posters of which there are 40 featured in this exhibition are fascinating and quite humorous. The exhibition which explores his love of his daughter and how they bond together and get inspiration from one another is a little too self indulgent for me. What I did gain from the experience was that the vast collection covers fifty years of cartoons and caricature and amongst the drawings are the odd social comment or two. Interesting to see the different styles. Some extremely good and some very immature and badly drawn. The museum itself is easy to maneuver covering two large halls on two floors although from the outside of the building you wouldn't think it was so large. Both halls are air conditioned which helps in the summer months. The cash desk and cloakroom is just as you enter through the main door and the price of a ticket is 5 zloty (just over a £1), 3zloty for students and elderly visitors. If you visit on a Saturday you will get in free. Opening times are from Tuesday until Sunday from 10.00 - 18.00 hours. If you collect postcards and posters like I do you are in luck as there is a small kiosk selling such items as well as special catalogues which range from 10 - 20 zloty (£2 - £4). Both the postcard and poster selection are very good with brightly coloured satirical Xmas cards costing a few zloty and satirical posters costing 2 zloty (under 50p). You can't grumble about the price or quality. All in all - a charming selection of goodies. I'm glad I visited the Museum of Caricature even though cartoons aren't my great passion. I was impressed with the layout of the collections and the fact that I was able to find out more about Polish history of caricature dating back from the late 50s. If you would like to visit the Museum of Caricature on Kozia Street and I do recommend a visit you need to take a tram to the Old Town (13, 23, 26), walk to Plac Zamkowy on to Senatorska Street and bear left on to Kozia Street which is slightly tucked away in a corner. Please note that the museum also organises temporary exhibitions which change regularly covering Polish and foreign works of art.

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      A cracker of a museum and the only one of its kind anywhere. Founded by cartoonist Eryk Lipinski in 1978, this museum is housed in the former gardener's house of the Primate's palace. The lion's share of the collection is of Polish artists, and the hilarious work of figures such as Kazimierz Sichulski is certainly deserving of wider recognition. The museum also owns a growing collection of international works.