Olga Boznańska w pracowni

Olga Boznańska at a ball and in the studio. The artist’s clothes

In 1958, the National Museum in Krakow came into possession of Olga Boznańska’s legacy, bequeathed to this institution by Aniela Jastrzębska-Lawendowska – the painter’s friend. One of the boxes brought from Paris included clothing and fashion accessories used by the artist. Crumpled and dusty ball gown, skirts, vests and underwear regained their splendour in the Textile Conservation Studio of the National Museum in Krakow.

Olga Boznańska preserved the clothes dating back to the time of her youth until her death in 1940. Among them was a ball gown. Boznańska never married and even as a nearly 30-year-old woman still wore dresses typical of maidens, in innocent pastel colours. This very dress now constitutes part of the collection of the National Museum in Krakow. It was made for a slim, petite young lady from transparent, matte, cotton gauze on shiny satin. The low neckline of the dress is decorated with a frill made of openwork embroidered tulle and three pale yellow velvet roses. The contrast between the matte and glossy as well as the transparent and opaque elements was very characteristic of the Art Nouveau fashion. The most decorative part of the dress consists of huge “balloon” sleeves, fashionable around 1895.

Olga Boznańska's ball gown
Olga Boznańska’s ball gown

This fabulous skirt with a long train, made of pale yellow silk was also used by the artist for special occasions. The delicate colour of the skirt contrasts with the intense deep red elements of velvet flaps with gold buttons, which hold the white guipure lace decorating the train.

Boznańska's skirt
Boznańska’s skirt, photo: Karol Kowalik – photography studio of the National Museum in Krakow

Enthusiasts of Olga Boznańska’s art will be particularly interested in her everyday clothes which she used to wear in her studio. The collection features a warm blue calico skirt with white dots, two vests worn with a white blouse, and above all, a linen apron with blue and white stripes which she used at work.

Boznańska's skirt
Boznańska’s skirt, photo: Karol Kowalik – photography studio of the National Museum in Krakow

Joanna Kowalska – historian and art historian, director of the Textile Department of the National Museum in Krakow, expert in the history of 19th and 20th-century fashion



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