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‘Józef Gosławski – rzeźby, monety, medale’ (Józef Gosławski – monuments, coins, medals) – The Mint of Poland in the Role of the Honorary Patron of the Album

The long awaited publication on the life and work of Józef Gosławski, a versatile artist, author of monuments, medals, coins as well as... Christmas tree decorations has already been released.

Preparation of the book has been supervised by Anna Rudzka, daughter of the artist.

The album presents artistic achievements of Józef Gosławski in their various aspects. We learn about the beginnings of his artistic activity inspired, among others, by the work of S. Szukalski, the period when Gosławski spent at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, and finally the difficult war times.

The period of the World War II had a great impact on the work of Gosławski. The theme of martyrdom is present in images appearing on many of the medals.

“(...) He found his own form of combating the invader – not with weapons, but a pencil. He did not take part in any actual fighting, but he protested against the evil with his conduct and artistic creation. This is when the designs for the small artistic forms, i.e. medals, came into being. They were an expression of the artist’s protest against war crimes, the tragedy of his nation and people entangled in the chaos of war, an outcry of despair on the part of an artist defending the freedom of life, a homage to those killed in the camps, and with all that – an encouraging reminder of Poland’s days of glory. This is when the designs for such medals as ‘Bolesław Chrobry’ (1940), ‘Rota’ (1941, ‘Pamięci jeńców’ (A Hommage to the Imprisoned,1943 )’Majdanek’ (1944) were created. All of them were finished and cast after the war (...)”1
Hanna Jelonek

To complete the above list we should add ‘Rok 1939’ (Year 1939), the plaster model for which was created during war times. In October 2009 the Mint of Poland issued a second set from the Famous Medallic Artists series dedicated to Józef Gosławski. It includes the ‘Rok 1939’ medal created using the plaster model that for 70 years had been waiting for this moment in the artist’s family house. It was only in 2009 that it was presented to a broader public. [An unknown medal of Józef Gosławski]

Forms of the monuments that came from the chisel of Gosławski are testimony of the evolution of the artist himself. The monuments from the interwar period show the influence of two of the artist’s masters – Stanisław Szukalski and Xawery Dunikowski. They also exhibit the artist’s attachment to the perfectly rendered details and, on the other hand, a search for a monumental synthesis.

Walking along Koszykowa Street it is worth looking up at the top of the MDM building with the sculpture group called ‘Music’ (Muzyka) by J. Gosławski. This is one of his post-war works being a reference to the epoch of the socialist realism. However, if we look closely at the sculpture we notice the influence of the 19th century Neo-baroque.

A relatively unknown element of the artistic activity of Józef Gosławski was creating Christmas tree decorations. Before Christmas the home of the Gosławski family was all engaged in a “Christmas tree ritual of sorts. The decorations gave the tree a real and unique charm, differing decidedly from the Christmas tree decoration canons of the day.

It should also not be forgotten that Gosławski was an author of many coins from the PRL epoch, above all the famous 5-zloty ‘Fisherman’. The 100-zloty coin from 1966, ‘Mieszko and Dąbrówka’, struck to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of the Polish state, is considered to be the most beautiful coin of the PRL era.

To learn more about these and other aspects of Józef Gosławski’s art take a look at the album.

The official book release meeting

Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Mint of Poland
Alegoria Publishing House

have the pleasure to invite you to a meeting dedicated to the album

‘Józef Gosławski. Rzeźby, monety, medale’ (‘Józef Gosławski – monuments, coins, medals’)

held on 15 December 2009 at 6 p.m.

Lecture theatre of the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 5

During the meeting it will be possible to purchase albums as well as numismat sets of the Mint of Poland dedicated to Józef Gosławski.

To order the books please write to:


More information can be received directly from the Alegoria Publishing House under the telephone numbers: +48 22 829 83 32 or +48 22 826 04 34


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