The exhibition called Présences Polonaises, which was on view in Paris this summer, came as a salutary reminder of the Polish avant-garde.[1] The exhibition was intended as a survey of Polish culture from the end of the First World War to the present day, and it included not only paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture, but also examples from Polish architecture, photography, literature, theater, film, and music. Among other things, it reflected how closely the lives of artists in this part of the world have been tied to politics.

The first section of the exhibition recreated the multinational and multireligious Poland that was erased from the map by the Second World War. The second section attempted to show what is going on artistically in Poland today. Whatever the success of the exhibition, there was some reward in...


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