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On the waves of art

28. 2. 2014 Venue 2nd floor exhibition hall Main Exhibition Curator Anna Habánová, Markéta Kroupová

The didactically and chronologically conceived permanent exhibition of art from the Czech lands from the early modern period to the present day presents a cross-section of painting and sculpture from the rich collection of the Liberec Regional Gallery.

The exposition includes works from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day and presents irreplaceable masterpieces in the context of the time of their creation. The concept of the exhibition, which includes paintings and sculptures from the second half of the 20th century, is based on highlighting significant milestones in our history. Against the backdrop of historical events, leading artistic personalities are introduced, all important creative movements are recalled and the most important moments in the development of Czech art are shown. The fact that art from the period after 1945 is the most widely represented in this exhibition also reflects the composition of our gallery's collections.


The history of the collection's creation
The first additions to this most extensive collection were made in 1927 with the purchase of the estate of the brothers Ferdinand and Alexander Bloch, which contained, among other things, several valuable works by Willi Nowak, Georg Kars and Alfred Justitz. After a long gap, further acquisition activities were undertaken by Jaro Beran, the collections manager and after 1946 its first director. It was the paintings of the Impressionists (Antonín Slavíček, Václav Radimský, Josef Ullman) and those of the generation of the 1990s that formed the basis for the future collection.

During her tenure, Jaro Beran's successor, PhDr. Hana Seifertová, collected more than 250 paintings from the 1890s to the late 1960s. Among the rarest acquisitions were paintings by members of the Sursum group, a set of Cubist works including Bohumil Kubišta's Kiss of Death, and paintings by Josef Šíma and Alois Wachsmann. The collection was further supplemented from 1970 by Mgr. Naďa Řeháková, curator of the collections and author of the 1974 catalogue of the collection.

Since 1990, PhDr. Věra Laštovková, director of the gallery, together with the curator of the collections Mgr. Eva Výtiskova, the director of the collections, filled the gaps in purchases from the previous period by acquiring works of Informel, Lettrism, Constructivism, New Figuration and others. A significant event in 2003 and 2004 was the exhibition Looking Back. In two parts - the first and second half of the 20th century - it presented the most interesting paintings of this collection supplemented by sculptural works.

The permanent exhibition is conceived in chronological sequence from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to the 1980s. For space reasons, only the most important stages of the development of Czech modern art are exhibited (the landscape school of Julius Mařák - František Kaván, Otakar Lebeda, impressionism - Antonín Slavíček, Antonín Hudeček, Art Nouveau monumental decorative art - Karel Špillar, the generation of the 1990s - Jan Preisler, symbolism - Josef Váchal, Jan Zrzavý, the rise of the Czech avant-garde, the Osma group - Bohumil Kubišta, Otakar Nejedlý, cubism - Antonín Procházka and Vincenc Beneš, a large collection belongs to Emil Filla, cuboexpressionism - Josef Čapek, surrealism - in addition to the aforementioned Alois Wachsmann, Toyen and František Janoušek. The imaginative line of Czech pre-war art is also associated with solitary artists such as František Muzika, Zdeněk Sklenář, as well as the Ra Group - Václav Tikal, Josef Istler and Václav Zykmund. War art is represented by representatives of Group 42 - František Hudeček, František Gross and the group Seven in October - Arnošt Paderlík, Josefa Liesler and František Jiroudek.

The post-war development is represented by the works of members of the art groups Máj - Zbyněk Sekal, Zdeněk Palcr, Stanislav Podhrázský, UB 12 - Václav Bartovský, Václav Boštík, Jiří John, Etapa - Václav Kiml, František Ronovský. The Trasa group is represented by a sculpture by Eva Kmentová. Examples of informel painting include works by Robert Piesen, Zbyšek Sion and partly also Mikuláš Medek. Lettrism is represented by Jiří Balcar, constructive tendencies by Radoslav Kratina, and new figuration by Rudolf Němec.

Regional contemporary art is represented by the artist Jiří Dostál with his landscape paintings and the works of Václav Benda and Rostislav Zárybnický developing the style and existentialist life view of the new figuration.

The exhibition also includes sculpture by Eva Kmentová, Zdeněk Palcr, Bedřich Stefan, Hana Wichterlová, Dalibor Chatrný, Karel Nepraš and others.

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