The building was erected in 1901 on the basis of the architectural design selected in a competition held in 1898. A young, 24-year-old, architect, Franciszek Mączyński, submitted his proposal, which was difficult to realise, but impressive, combining elements of ancient architecture with secession and a symbolic frieze. The frieze designed by Jacek Malczewski consists of two corteges depicting artists, with both of them set off from the northern façade to meet on the southern façade, on two sides of the entrance to the edifice. In the first cortege, successful artists stride proudly, decorated with a laurel by a muse; whereas, the other one depicts those who art does not bring any happiness or recognition.
The building history is intrinsically linked with the Society of Friends of Fine Arts, which has its headquarters there, and the edifice was completely funded out of love to art, based on the conviction of its social significance. Although Krakow Arts Salon is not organised by the said Society, but by Krakow Festival Office and the Artists Innovation Theory Foundation (F.A.I.T.), the history of the Society and the ideas which had shaped its mission and goals form an important inspiration for us. That is why we have decided to hold the exhibition just here, in the rooms designed by Franciszek Mączyński, created especially to present works of art. The palace, located on the plot purchased with funds from the sale of a series of drawings by Artur Grottger, was to serve Polish artists since the very beginning.
The Society played that role even before acquiring its own headquarters, having its first survey art exhibitions in the nineteenth century Kraków. Jan Matejko, Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański debuted just on the exhibitions of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts. In one of the first press appeals, published by the Society, its directors undertook to arrange “a set of distinguished works of art, based on which a general taste could be shaped, love for art could grow, and healthy and just criticism could be developed.” We, the organisers of Krakow Art Salon, could sign under these words.