Czech art Collection, Liberec Regional Gallery

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

The origin of the oldest exhibited works dates back to around 1500. Baroque is represented by small still life, in contrast to the 19th century realistic and romantic landscape painting. The 20th century, with its countless “isms”, occupies the largest part of the space and represents irreplaceable masterpieces in the context of their origin. The concept of the exposition of the second half of the 20th century is based on important dates of the political history of our country. In accordance with the historical development, the basic names of the artists are mentioned, all important creative movements are mentioned, and the most important mjoments in the development of Czech fine art are shown. The exhibition also reflects the composition of the gallery collection. Art after 1945 is presented in the largest space. The purpose of the exhibition is to show a cross-section of the development of fine art in the Czech lands, with its main streams and contemporary anomalies.

History of the collection
The first additions to this largest collection were acquired in 1927 by purchasing the estate of the brothers Ferdinand and Alexander Bloch, which included, among other things, several valuable works by Willi Nowak, Georg Kars and Alfred Justitz. After a long gap, Jaro Beran, the collector’s administrator, was engaged in further acquisition activities and, after 1946, its first director. It was the paintings of the Impressionists (Antonín Slavíček, Václav Radimský, Josef Ullman) and the paintings of the 1990s generation that formed the basis for the future collection.

Successor of J. Beran PhDr. During her tenure, Hana Seifertová has collected more than 250 paintings from the 1890s to the end of the 1960s. The rarest gains included paintings by members of the Sursum group, a collection of Cubist works including the Kiss of Death by Bohumil Kubišta, paintings by Josef Šíma and Alois Wachsmann. Since 1970, Mgr. Naďa Řeháková, curator of collections and author of collection catalog from 1974.

Since 1990, PhDr. Věra Laštovková, director of the gallery, together with Mgr. Eve Vytiskova to fill the gaps in purchases from the previous period by acquiring works of informel, lettrism, constructivism, new figuration and more. An important event in 2003-2004 became the exhibition Looking Back. In two parts – the first and second half of the 20th century – she presented the most interesting paintings of this collection supplemented by sculptures.

The permanent exhibition is conceived in chronological order from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to the 1980s. For spatial reasons, only the most important stages of the development of Czech modern art are exhibited (Julius Mařák Landscape School – František Kaván, Otakar Lebeda, Impressionism – Antonín Slavíček, Antonín Hudeček, Art Nouveau monumental decorativeness – Karel Špillar, 1990s – Jan Preisler, Symbolism – Josef Váchal, Jan Zrzavý, the advent of the Czech avant-garde, group Osma – Bohumil Kubišta, Otakar Nejedlý, cubism – Antonín Procházka and Vincenc Beneš, numerous collections include Emil Filla, cubo-expressionism – Josef Čapek, surrealism – besides Alois Wachsmann, Toyen and František Janoušek. Solitary artists such as František Muzika, Zdeněk Sklenář, the Ra Group – Václav Tikal, Josef Istler and Václav Zykmund. The war work 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 works by members of the art groups May – Zbynek Sekal, Zdenek Palcr, Stanislav Podhrazsky, UB 12 – Vaclav Bartovsky, Vaclav Boštík, George John, Stage – Vaclav Kiml, Frantisek Ronovsky. The Route group is represented by a sculpture by Eva Kmentová. Examples of informal painting include works by Robert Piesen, Zbyšek Sion and partly also by Mikuláš Medek. Lettrism is represented by Jiří Balcar, constructive tendencies by Radoslav Kratina, and a new figuration by Rudolf Němec.

Regional art presents contemporary landscape painting by Jiří Dostál and paintings developing the style and existentialist life view of the new figure – Václav Benda, Rostislav Zárybnický.

The collection is accompanied by examples of sculptures. In addition to the names of Eva Kmentová and Zdeněk Palc already mentioned, we can find sculptures by Bedřich Stefan, Hana Wichterlová, Dalibor Chatrný, Karel Nepraš and others.

Oblastní galerie Liberec
The Liberec Regional Gallery is a specialized collecting institution – art museum – operating in the Liberec region. It takes care of extensive art collections and offers visitors a tour of three permanent exhibitions of European and Czech art.

The gallery regularly prepares short-term exhibitions and exhibitions in the graphic cabinet. The gallery’s instructor department provides accompanying programs for exhibitions and a cultural program for schools and the public throughout the year.

The gallery is open daily except Mondays from 10 am to 5 pm on Thursdays to 7 pm. Free admission every Thursday.