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From 16 February 2024, an exhibition devoted to Eufemia, a legendary model who posed for the Painting Department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts from the 1960s onwards, can be seen at the Czapski Palace. The exhibition 'The Knobbearer. A character study of Euphemia', curated by: Aleksandra Karolina Makuch, Barbara Orłowska and Katarzyna Ewa Trzeciak, will run until 17 March 2024.


Eufemia Jagiełło (1906-1987) worked as a model at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw from the 1960s, perhaps even until the mid-1980s. She posed mainly for the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She was memorable, expressive and uncompromising. She aroused controversy – while posing, she sang pre-war songs, told bizarre stories, gave corrections, and even sometimes gave readings to female students.

„To some, 'Euphemia’ is known as the name of a student club, later a cult club-café, which was located in the basement of the Czapski Palace from the 1960s. Few know that it was named after the heroine of the exhibition”. – say the curators of the exhibition.

The unrecorded history of the Academy

This model of expression proposed by Euphemia, although it existed within the Academy, escaped its rules. The heroine of the exhibition, like all models, functioned on the periphery of the academic world.

Her story was not recorded – in the main studies on the post-war Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, we will find no information about her. However, the model managed to partially resist the processes of historical exclusion. Through orally transmitted stories, she reached the consciousness of subsequent generations of female students.

„Her image, distorted by numerous mediations, seems impossible to reconstruct faithfully. The protagonist’s face, blurred in most of the paintings, is revealed in an archival recording from 1972, which records her performance at the Ball of Knobheads at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In reference to it, the exhibition is referred to as 'Gallegiar’.

Unable to find written sources on Euphemia, we talk to professors, listen to circulating legends and look at representations of Euphemia’s character recorded on dozens of canvases. We try to get closer to the ephemeral heroine of our exhibition. In the process, further phantasms of Euphemia emerge – muse, freak, madwoman, singer, cabaret performer. Artists?” – explain the curators of the exhibition.

Artists participating in the exhibition

Piotr Bogusławski, Magdalena Bołdaniuk-Drozdowska, Czesław Ciapało, Tomasz Ciecierski, Wojciech Cieśniewski, Emilia Dłużniewska, Kazimierz Drozd, Wojciech Freudenreich, Maja Gumińska, Wasylis Jeropulos, Agnieszka Kocińska, Andrzej Krzysztoforski, Cezary Makowski, Aleksandra Karolina Makuch, Szaweł Płóciennik, Zenon Porada, Elżbieta Strzałecka, Włodzimierz Szymanowicz, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Hanna Wierzbicka, Wanda Winkowska-Siennicka, Hanna Wolska, Jerzy Ryszard Zieliński (Jurry), Zygmunt Ziemka, Ewa Żuławska Walentynowicz

Photos from the opening of the exhibition Gałganiara. Figure Study of Eufemia