About Królikarnia

The Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture is a division of the National Museum in Warsaw, located in an idyllic Palladian palace named Królikarnia (The Rabbit House). The name dates back to the 17th century, when our park was set up as a zoo, to hunt for rabbits – a fashionable custom of the time. The Palace was designed by Domenico Merlini  and built in the 1780s  by the notorious gambler and rake Charles Thomatis, Count de Valery. Thomatis had come to Warsaw from Milan at the invitation of the King of Poland Stanisław August Poniatowski to run the King’s Theatre. Rumour has it that the mother of Giacomo Casanova was in the troupe of actors led by Thomatis. Since then, owners, interior design and function of the palace have often changed. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In 1879, Królikarnia burnt to the ground. The reconstruction of the building, conducted by the Pusłowski family, was one of the pioneer achievements in the history of Polish restoration works. During the Warsaw Uprising, the palace was devastated once again. After the Second World War the estate was nationalised by the communist government. In 1948, it was decided that Królikarnia should be rebuilt to house the sculptures of Xawery Dunikowski – a prominent artist. The restoration of the ruined palace was finished in 1965, a year after Dunikowski’s death. This was the beginning of the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture at the Królikarnia Palace.


In Królikarnia, we organize exhibitions, performances, meetings, conferences, film screenings, concerts, and outdoor events in a romantic park which surrounds the palace. Our museum houses the country’s largest collection of sculpture, comprising works from the 15th century to the present day. Maintaining such a large and heterogeneous collection in good condition is our great responsibility, challenge and privilege. In order to create a significant centre for the study of sculpture we also conduct research and undertake publishing activities. Our academic and artistic interests are based on two sources: the history of our venue and a modern understanding of the concept of sculpture, which could mean the traditional figure made of marble or bronze as well as public art in the spirit of Joseph Beuys’s concept of 'Social Sculpture'. For this reason, our program combines traditional museum exhibitions with experimental performances and unexpected happenings, such as concerts that begin at sunrise, a vegetable garden cultivated by the museum audience, or a mystic Muslim ritual celebrated among western European art exhibits.