Mission

 

The Gallery's principal pursuit is to promote and provide access to the artistic legacy of the famous Sleńdziński family, documenting the culture of Kresy, as well as presenting the fruits of local artistic circles. We realize this through purchasing, preserving and conservating works of art, and also through conducting research, exhibitions and cultural, educational, and dissemination initiatives.

There are two main sections within the Gallery: the first one is concerned with the artistic collection, archives and regional research; the second one, with exhibition, publications, and promotion.

 

Sleńdziński's Thursdays” are regular artistic events which have been held in the Gallery since 1993 and which take the form of poetry readings, book promotions, or classical music recitals. Apart from guests from different parts of Poland, we receive as guests Polish artists who live and create in the former Soviet Union countries.

 

“Ananke” is an artistic magazine of the Gallery published every fourth month along with the catalogues of temporary exhibitions.

 

“Galeria im. Sleńdzińskich w Białymstoku” (2004) is an album, in excellent editorial layout, presenting a collection of paintings, as well as unabridged biographies of the Sleńdziński artists from Vilnius.

 

 

History

 

The idea to create a museum of the artistic legacy of the Sleńdziński family arose in the late 1980s. In 1988, the Białystok professor Witold Czarnecki, contacted his war colleague, Julitta Sleńdzińska, with whom he happened to live during the Second World War in the Vilnius mansion of Władysław Oskierko. After Julitta's Christmas stay at his home in 1988, the idea of an anniversary exhibition appeared (1989 was the 100th anniversary of her father Ludomir Sleńdziński’s birthday). Julitta gladly agreed to the idea, as she had always wanted to avoid dispersing the family paintings collection. Thanks to Ewa Cywińska, director of the artistic exhibitions department and a principal member of a society gathering friends of Grodno and Vilnius at the time, as well as Janusz Figura, a principal figure of the Army Museum in Białystok at the time, the exhibition was prepared. The substantive part of exhibition was created by Barbara Czarnecka and Joanna Tomalska from the Army Museum. The displayed works of art were brought from different regions of Poland: Julitta’s own apartment in Warsaw and Zakopane, from museums and private galleries. The initiative to transform the exhibition into something permanent was supported by Białystok’s president at the time Lech Rutkowski.

 

On April 1992, Julitta formally forwarded to Białystok her family artistic legacy as well as the archives. In 1992 Białystok established the Sleńdziński Gallery and ratified its statute and council, a member of which Julitta was to be. Unfortunately, Julitta did not take part in its first session as she passed away on the 16th of June 1992. The first staff members of the Gallery began their work on November 1992: a principal – Stanisława Gryncewicz and a custodian Anna Hendzel-Andreew.

 

The Gallery was officially opened on April 1993 and its first residence became a former artistic studio created in a former Jewish house of prayer on Waryńskiego Street.

 

In 2005, the Gallery received extra space and in 2010 an exhibition gallery on Legionowa Street. After Stanisława’s Gryncewicz retirement in 2008, her duties were taken over by Mariusz Kostro. A present principal is Jolanta Szczygieł-Rogowska, a historian and custodian of the Podlaskie Museum in Białystok.

 

The permanent collection stem comprises works of the Sleńdzińskis: Aleksander, Wincenty, Ludomir and Julitta. These are oil paintings, painted wooden sculptures and reliefs, drawings (studies), and a collection of sketches (dating from between 1850s. and 1980s.)

Additionally, the Gallery prides itself on its collection of Vilnius graphics (dating mainly from the 19th and 20th century), objects of artistic handicraft, as well as musical instruments, especially a French-Flemish Zuckerman harpsichord. The Gallery also owns a rich file of Sleńdziński documents, commemorating the family and their artistic life. The oldest documents are those connected with Marcin Sleńdziński (1754-1850), whereas the most numerous ones concern the family and artistic life of Ludomir Sleńdziński and his daughter - Julitta.