Abstract: This article focuses on the fascinating role played by several Polish artists in several Polish historical commemorations. These celebrations, held in the city of Cracow, took place in the last decades before the reestablishment of an independent Polish state. Painters felt moved to enter the public sphere during this period; in the process they became, or attempted to become, benefactors ("Medicis") of the nation. Although three artists - Henryk Siemiradzki, Jan Mate- jko, and Jan Styka - figured prominently in three large public commemorations of Polish historical anniversaries of the period (the 1879 jubilee of Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski, the 1883 bicentennial of the Relief of Vienna, and the 1910 quincen- tennial of the Battle of Grunwald, respectively), their projects did not always have the support of the Cracow notables, who seemed to place the interests of the municipality over those of the nation at large.
This article is concerned with the fate of the Hutsul kilim and, by extension, Polish-Ukrainian relations in the interwar period. This was a period when the Hutsul highlanders of the Eastern Carpathians (today citizens of modern Ukraine), the traditional weavers of these geometrically-patterned woolen rugs, found themselves within the newly established Second Polish Republic. Most commercial weaving was in Jewish hands at this time, and this production was far inferior to that done by Hutsuls themselves, primarily for their own domestic use. The decline of the Hutsul kilim was arrested by a Ukrainian émigré from Soviet Russia, whose “Hutsul Art” collective reinvigorated the form. This development brought the Hutsul kilim to the attention of those who would wish to appropriate it, or at a minimum consider it part and parcel of interwar Poland’s artistic production. The article demonstrates that, while Ukrainians were keen on integrating the Hutsul kilim into the Ukrainian kilim tradition, Poles preferred to keep the Hutsul kilim distinct, thus allowing it to be seen as part of the heritage of the multiethnic interwar Polish state.