Zachęta: Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (Zachęta—literally, "Encouragement," short for Towarzystwo Zachęty do Sztuk Pięknych, Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts) is one of the most notable art galleries in Warsaw. Currently state-owned and named Zachęta National Gallery of Art, it was named after the Society founded in 1860, disbanded in 1940 and re-established in 1990.


The Society was started by some of the most notable Polish artists and art dealers, among them Wojciech Gerson, Alfred Schouppé and Marcin Olszyński. In 1900 the society moved to a new location, a large building next to the Saxon Garden, designed by Stefan Szyller. The aims of Zachęta were to promote art for the benefit of both artists and the Polish society. Since 1904 there are yearly Salons held there. The Society also founded scholarships and offered other aid to young artists, both members and candidates.

On December 16th, 1922 Gabriel Narutowicz, the first president of Poland was assassinated in Zachęta. He was shot by Eligiusz Niewiadomski, a Polish painter, after five days of incumbency.

Initially following new trends in European art, after Poland regained her independence in 1918 the Zachęta gradually became more conservative. Following the Invasion of Poland (1939), exhibitions were suspended and in 1940 the institution was closed down by the German authorities, while a large part of the works of art was confiscated and sent to Germany. Following the World War II the building was rebuilt and continued to house the gallery, while the society was not re-established until 1990.

The Building

It is the first building in Warsaw erected to expose artistic works there. The Zachęta building was constructed thanks to funds and initiative of Society for Encouragement of Fine Arts, an organization of artists and lovers of art, founded in 1860. The institution, established by Wojciech Gerson, was engaged in the collection and popularization fo the national art. The collection was started by the picture of Józef Simmler Death of Barbara Radziwiłł. Exhibits came mainly from donations and last wills. They comprised over one thousand exhibits at the end of the century. The construction of its own building became a necessity. In 1896, the Society announced a competition for the design of the building. Stefan Szyller's suggestion won. The construction was launched in September 1898. The front building was officially opened on December 15th, 1900.

Kordegarda Gallery

Kordegarda Gallery is a subsection of Zachęta. It is located in the building of the former coach-house of the historic Potocki Palace (now the site of the Ministry of Culture), on Warsaw’s principal tourist way: the Royal Route.

Building Activity

  • Fernando Brandao
    Fernando Brandao updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • Elena Stetsurina
    Elena Stetsurina updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov updated
    about 6 years ago via