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Print Room Print


•    The user may enter the reading room of the Department with the pass issued by the Information Desk staff. In order to receive the pass the user is requested to show valid Library and identification card.
•    The user is obligated to comply with the “Rules on the use of Warsaw University Library Special Collections”, in particular the request for careful handling of the objects viewed and exclusive use of a pencil while taking any notes.
•    More extensive research must be arranged in advance with a phone call to the Print Room staff.
•    Due to the historic nature and uniqueness of the collection preservation copies (photographs) are presented first if available.
•    The objects from the Print Room collection are primarily available for research purposes on the basis of a written request approved by the Room Manager.
•    Except for independent scholars all other users are requested to present written references from their supervisors or parent institutions.
•    Copies (photographs) of objects from the Print Room collections may be requested from Warsaw University Library Reprographic Services Department on the approval of the Room Manager.
•    Any further reproduction of the objects housed in the Print Room requires a permission of the Room Manager.
•    Taking photographs on the Print Room premises is strictly prohibited.
•    Visitors to the Print Room are provided with a reference library including comprehensive collection of specialist and auxiliary literature in the field of art (in particular prints and drawings). In justified cases some reference works may be accessed in the Library Main Reading Room.

The details on the availability of the Print Room collections are provided in The rules on the use of UW Library Special Collections.

3rd floor, room 343
University of Warsaw Library

Print Room
Dobra 56/66 00-312 Warsaw
Phone: +48 22 55 25 830
E-mail: gabryc.buw@uw.edu.pl

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
For July and August opening hours consult the Library website (http://www.buw.uw.edu.pl/)

The Print Room of the University of Warsaw Library holds the copyright on all the images taken of the Print Room’s prints and drawings. If you wish to reproduce the images or / and obtain reproduction rights for a single use you need to fill in the Licence Confirmation and send it to the Print Room.

The Licence Confirmation: LICENCE CONFIRMATION
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us:
Phone.: +48 22 55 25 830
E-mail: gabryc.buw@uw.edu.pl



Print Room established in 1818 has been the oldest and – by 1939 – the largest public collection of prints and drawings in Poland. Despite extensive losses suffered during World War II (approx. 60% of the whole collection) it has retained an outstanding position in the history of Polish collecting and collections due to the artistic and historic value of its holdings. At present the collection includes approximately 50,000 master and architectural drawings, single leaf prints and bound volumes of prints spanning the 16th to 20th century. Nearly all West European schools of graphic arts are present and the majority of works reflect 17th and 18th century artistic output in the field. The Print Room acquires, houses, preserves and provides access to the collections of prints and drawings and their curators are involved in various scholarly, exhibition and educational projects and activities.

The core of the Room holdings consists of King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s Print Room purchased for Warsaw University from the King’s successors in 1818. The collection includes (mostly 17th and 18th century) prints and drawings the majority of which are ordered according to their subjects and placed in characteristic boxes covered with leather, so‑called royal portfolios. In the period between 1818 and 1821 Stanisław Kostka Potocki, who proposed the purchase of the afore-mentioned collection, donated to Warsaw University a considerable part of his own collection of prints and drawings, including works of 16th and 17th century European Masters. All objects in question were transferred to Warsaw University Library opened in 1816 and the traditional name of the royal collection – the Print Room – was assigned to the collection of all graphic works owned by the University. After the collapse of the November Uprising the Print Room collections were transferred to Petersburg, Russia (1832), incorporated in the holdings of Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts and expanded with the collections owned earlier by the Friends of Science Society in Warsaw and Duke Eustachy Sapieha from Dereczyn. In 1923 the resolutions of the Treaty of Riga resulted in the restitution of the collections in question by the Library. In the period between 1924 and 1939 the collections were enhanced with objects purchased, received as donations and acquired by the Library after 1832 such as the archives of Tylman van Gameren, Dominik Witke-Jeżewski’s collection, doctor Izydor Krzemicki’s collection (16th to 18th century chiaroscuro woodcuts) and Henryk Grohman’s collection (West European and Polish prints from the turn of the 19th and 20th century).World War II was a tragic period in the history of the Print Room which suffered the loss of nearly 60% of the collection consisting of more than 100,000 items, including the reference library, photograph archives, inventories and catalogs. The Nazi occupying forces pillaged the most valuable objects and a large part of the collection was torched in the building of Krasiński Library after the collapse of Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The decisive attempts at reclaiming looted and lost properties immediately after the end of World War II enabled the Library to regain its severely decimated holdings and the Print Room was reopened as early as January 1946. In 1955 it was transferred to Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace in Krakowskie Przedmieście Street 32 and in the academic year 2001/2002 it became accessible in a new building of Warsaw University Library in Dobra Street 56/66.  

16th to 18th century OLD MASTER PRINTS

The Library Print Room boasts objects from nearly all schools and periods of European graphic arts (the majority of them from the 17th and 18th century) and –  less numerous – polonica. The most outstanding collections include early (15th-16th century) Italian and German engravings (Andrea Mantegna, Marcantonio Raimondi and his school, all series of prints by Albrecht Dürer). The 16th century Netherlands and 17th-18th century Flemish and Dutch schools are reflected in the works of Lucas van Leyden, Antwerpian Sadeler family (religious cycles, portraits), Jacob Matham (alegories, religious scenes, genre scenes), Adriaen van Ostade (peasant scenes), Wallerant Vaillant and others. Moreover, the Print Room houses a magnificent collection of impressions (woodcuts and copper engravings) from Rubens school which represent Rubens’ paintings (Lucas Vorsterman, Paulus Pontius, Boetius and Schelte à Bolswert, Christoffel Jegher and others) and the largest in Poland collection of Rembrandt van Rijn’s graphic works.The 16th to the 18th century Italian school involves the most outstanding engravers and painters dedicated to graphic arts: the inventor of monotype technique Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, the poet and landscape painter Salvator Rosa, the author of numerous polonica  (including 2,5 m The entry of Jerzy Ossoliński to Rome) Stefano della Bella, Venicians: Marco Alvise Pitteri, the architect Michele Marieschi (vedutes), and Tiepolo family (caprices, Scherzi). Attention should be drawn to the unique collection of nearly complete graphic œuvre of Giovanni Battista Piranesi and his son Francesco (ancient monuments, contemporary architecture in Rome, Carceri) from King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s library.French masterpieces of the 17th and 18th century include the eminent etchings by Jacques Callot (landscapes, caprices, the cycle Les misères de la guerre) and copper engravings by outstanding portraitists Robert Nanteuille and Gerard Edelinck. The collection abounds in French and English color prints (Gilles Demarteau, Louis M. Bonnet, Jean-François Janinet, Pierre-Louis Debucourt, William Wyne Ryland, Francesco Bartolozzi) and English mezzotints (Richard Earlom, John R. Smith, Valentin Green).Finally, the Print Room holds a unique collection of chiaroscuro woodcuts from the period of the 16th to 18th century, the largest collection of that type in Poland (over 200 impressions), including works of the 16th and 17th century masters such as Ugo da Carpi (see Diogenes on the cover of this guide). 


The collection of highly diverse nature includes approximately 3500 drawings by masters of various European schools (often represented with only one work), Polish artists and foreign artists active in Poland. Most eminent objects originate from the collections of King Stanisław August Poniatowski, Stanisław Kostka Potocki and Warszawskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk (the Friends of Science Society in Warsaw).The abundant collection of works from the Italian school (the 16th to 18th century) includes pieces by such artists as Perino del Vaga, the painter and biographer of other artists Giorgio Vasari, Francesco Salviati, Alessandro Allori, Bartolomeo Passarotti, one of few woman painters Elisabetta Sirani and Giovanni Battista Piranesi (architectural fantasies). Equally outstanding names draw attention to the collection of 16th century Netherlands and 17th century Flemish and Dutch works including the design of stained-glass window by Pieter Coeck van Aelst, miniatures from the circle of Frans Floris documenting the marriage of the Duke of Parma Alessandro Farnese to the Duchess Mary of Portugal, landscape masterpieces by Paulus Bril, Roelant Savery and Esaias van de Velde, and, last but not least, the magnificent pieces by Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Rembrandt van Rijn.French school is primarily reflected in the works of 18th century artists: François Boucher’s designs of coats of arms for Polish Commonwealth and King Stanisław August Poniatowski, the drawings by Charles Natoire, Jean B. Oudry and Edme Bouchardon, red chalk landscapes and the collection of contre-epreuves from the studies on ancient monuments by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Less impressive collection of works by German artists (many pieces are anonymous) nonetheless includes items by such important 16th century masters as Hans Suess von Kulmbach or Hans van Aachen. Drawings of Polish artists and foreigners active in Poland are included in large collections of works by Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer (created during his travel to the Orient and Italy), Franciszek Smuglewicz (designs for paintings, studies on ancient Greece and Rome, ancient history, judaica), Józef Wall, Ferdynand Pinck and Zygmunt Vogel.Nineteenth and twentieth century drawings are dominated with works of Polish masters: Wincenty Smokowski, Jan Matejko, Leon Wyczółkowski, Józef Pankiewicz, Franciszek Siedlecki, Józef Mehoffer, Tadeusz Makowski, Wacław Wąsowicz and Zbysław Marek Maciejewski, to mention only a few of them. The output of European artists of that period is reflected in the pieces by Constantin Guys, Félicien Rops and Emil Orlik. 

Architectural and decorative drawings

The highly valuable collection of architectural and decorative drawings (over 3500 items) is closely related to Polish history and culture. It includes the archives of Tylman van Gameren and the second half of the 18th century and first half of the 19th century designs, mostly originating from King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s royal collection complemented with the collections of Dominik Witke-Jeżewski, Stanisław Patek, Sapieha family from Dereczyn and Lubomirski family from Łańcut.Unique on a European scale archives of Tylman van Gameren, an architect and military engineer who settled in Poland in 1666, include over 800 drawings: designs of ecclesiastical buildings (the Sisters of the Holy Sacrament church,  the Bernardine church in Czerniaków district), epitaphs and tombstones, palaces (Krasiński Palace), villas, manor houses, public service buildings and fortifications.Equally interesting is King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s collection which provides priceless resources for research on the Enlightenment architecture and town planning as well as the output of most famous contemporary architects: Jakub Fontana, Domenico Merlini, Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer, Efraim Schröger and Jakub Kubicki. Particularly important are designs for rebuilding the Royal Castle in Warsaw (the architectural drawings by Victor Louis and interior designs by the sculptor and interior decorator Jean-Louis Prieur). Another set of drawings concerns Łazienki Palace, Ujazdów, Świątynia Opatrzności (the Temple of Providence), St John Cathedral and residences in Grodno, Jordanowice, Białystok, Wiśniowiec, etc. The royal collection is complemented with Witke-Jeżewski and Patek’s collections constituting so-called „Minter Portfolios” – the collection which belonged once to Colonel Wilhelm H. Minter, the engineer and director of military buildings. The designs included in the collection, mostly concerning Warsaw and its immediate vicinity, were related to the bourgeoisie and aristocracy patronage. Next to numerous works of Szymon Bogumił Zug (around 500 items: palaces, tenement houses, churches, etc.) the collection includes designs created by Wilhelm Minter and royal architects.Small yet interesting set of designs included in the collection formerly owned by Eustachy Sapieha from Dereczyn is related to Aleksander Sapieha’s funding activity and Jan S. Becker’s architectural output. Less valuable set of designs from the Łańcut collection (drawings signed by Jan Griesmayer, Chrystian Piotr Aigner, Jakub Hempel and Franciszek Maria Lanci) reflects the architectural activity of Izabella Lubomirska and Potocki family in their family estates in Łańcut, Lwów and Vienna. 

19th AND 20th century prints

The collection relatively well documents the development of lithography with works of foreign (Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Achille Deveria, Honoré Daumier, Gavarni) and Polish artists (in particular the pioneer impressions of Count Aleksander Chodkiewicz and the lithographies by Jan Feliks Piwarski and Maksymilian Fajans).The beginnings of modern graphic arts are represented by the works of outstanding European, Polish and American graphic masters from the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, including the French: Camille Corot, Felix Bracquemond, Edouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the Germans: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Max Slevogt and the Belgian:  James Ensor and Félicien Rops (more than 200 works in the collection). The output of English and American artists is reflected in prints by Frank Brangwyn, Joseph Pennell and James McNeil Whistler while Scandinavian pieces primarily include the works of Edvard Munch and Anders Zorn. Attention should be drawn to a large collection of works by Czech graphic artist Emil Orlik.The comprehensive collection of contemporary Polish prints and drawings includes the works of Leon Wyczółkowski, Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Skoczylas, Feliks Jabłczyński, Józef Mehoffer, Franciszek Siedlecki, Konstanty Brandel, Jan Skotnicki, Jan Rubczak, Wojciech Weiss,  Karol Mondral and Tadeusz Makowski and considerably large sets of pieces by illustrators such as Stefan Mrożewski, Stanisław Ostoja-Chrostowski and Tadeusz Cieślewski Jr. Achievements of graphic artists from the second half of the 20th century are shown in the works of Jonasz Stern, Jerzy Panek, Józef Gielniak and Jan Dobkowski. 


Information on the Print Room collections may be found in the name and subject card catalogs of prints and drawings and printed catalogs of collections and exhibitions available in the Print Room reading room. The comprehensive list of the latter is available online at http://www.buw.uw.edu.pl/zbspec/Ryciny/ryciny.htm

© 2018 University of Warsaw Library
Financial support from the European Commision within the Socrates/Erasmus Programme.