The Gallery of Arts Ernesta Zmetáka in Nové Zámky (Slovakia: Ernest Zmeták Art Gallery in Nové Zámky) was founded from the initiative of a Nové Zámky citizen – the painter Ernest Zmeták on January 1 1979.
Nové Zámky, a city that spreads in the very heart of the Danube Lowlands, once a strategically important fortress and anti-Turkish defense center, today represents one of the important cultural centers of the Nitra region. The atmosphere and the unique identity of the city are also characterized by a cultural legacy that has left significant natives, among which artists such as Lajos Kassák, Otto Csicsátka, Lajos Luzsic, Gejza Kukán or Juraj Meliš have their own representation. The advice of these artists is supplemented by an academic painter, graphic designer, illustrato.
Ernest Zmeták, who, with his lifelong creative activity and collecting activity, deserved a great deal of cultural development not only in Nové Zámky but also in whole Slovakia. In 1979, his art gallery was established in his hometown of the Art Gallery, which, together with his wife Danica Zmetakova, devoted an extensive collection of works of Slovak, Hungarian and European art to the 16th and 20th centuries. The old art, centered on the Central European location, and the works of the old masters, which formed the core of the Collection Collection, filled with paintings of representatives of Slovak, Czech and Hungarian modern paintings and sculptures of the 19th – 20th centuries, premises of the main permanent exhibition.
Its first administrative and exhibition rooms were in the House of services near the bus station in Nové Zámky. After a year the gallery opened „The permanent exhibition of European art of the 16th – 20th century“ that could have been established from the donation of Ernest and Danica Zmeták in the building of the City office. The permanent exhibition was opened on November 21 1980. Also the administrative section of the gallery moved into the same building and in 1986 the room in memory of Lajos Kassák was opened there. In 2003, the gallery was given its own building on Björnsonova street and the administrative section has joined its spaces too. The following year, in March 2004, „The Permanent exhibition of Lajos Kassák“ has been opened and in June 2004 „The permanent exhibition of European art of the 16th – 20th century“ that has been enabled to be opened from donations of Ernest and Danica Zmeták.
In the complex of the exhibition rooms of the gallery there is also an exhibition devoted to the versatile artist Lajos Kassák. This space is conceived as a tribute to the avant-garde legend of the Central European context. The permanent exhibition presents the artistic creation of the artist, through which we can see the different positions of the author’s artistic expression – through realistic works and symbolic landscapes, to abstract compositions in the sense of picture architectures, works created in the spirit of constructivism where constructive assembly was associated with surrealistic imagery. Besides these works, the exhibition included the works of artists who responded creatively to the production of Kassák – honors and various interpretations from the projects organized during the Kassak Jubilees, and we can also see various documents and examples from the literary work.
European art of 16th – 20th century
The pernament exhibition of European art was created in 1980 on the basis of the gift from Ernest Zmeták and Danica Zmetáková.Originally it was located in the premises of the gallery in the building of the Municipal Office.Since 2004 it has been installed in the new building of the art gallery.The exhibition represents the selection from the vast and qualitatively limited collection activity of E. Zmeták a D. Zmetáková. It includes works from the period of 16th- 20th centuries with emphasis on the central-European art of the 18th- 19th centuries whose core is formed by works of Baroque artists /G. B. Piazetta, B. Belotto, P. Troger, J.P. Sauvage, J.Kohl/.The most integrated parts of the exhibition are represented by the Hungarian art of the 19th-20th centuries.There can be found several master works by great artists /M. Barabaš, F. Ballassa,A Ligeti, J. Kmetty, V. Aba – Novák , I. Szönyi, J. Egry, A. Bernáth/. The substantial part is represented by the Slovak art of the 19th- 20th centuries where works of the outstanding personalities of the Slovak art culture / L. Mednyánszky, M. Benka, A. Jaszusch, A.Bazovský , J.Alexy, M.Mudroch, C.Majerník, M.Paštéta, M.Laluha/ are included.Collectors had regurarly renewed the exhibition by new works. The last works were donated in 1994.
The collection of European art with a rich structure provides the insight the periods from Renaissance to Classicism of the 19th century.
The exhibition of Lajos Kassák was founded on the basis of Klará Kassák’s gift. It first opened to public in 1986 housed by the Art Gallery, introducing a gift of 32 works of art and documentary materials showing Kassák’s literary work and art-organizing activities.
The reinstalled exposition portrays a different view. It focuses on the artist’s works of art. The centre of the exposition is based on the collection of works between 1940 and 1965, when both realistic and abstract works were created. Kassák, at the end of 1940s, lived in inner immigration in Békásmegyer. After a longer pause, he started painting again. Though inspired by the surroundings, he did not become a painter copying the reality. He remained a creative thinker, instinctively giving things an architectural order, expressing himself with proverbial eloquence, in an unusual spontaneous and lyrical way. Not only in symbolic landscapes of Békásmegyer but also in abstract compositions, in which he saw an extension of early picture architectures. From its conical forms instead of defiance, a sort of meditative pathos could be felt, mixing with a sense of finiteness. His works from the 1950s have a diary-like, intimate and reflexive character. Kassák discovered the naïve charm of the vanished childhood. In accelerated retrospective, he painted dreamy records or with lax fictitiousness varied biomorphic forms. Interest in his works started to grow abroad in the early 1960s. A graphics album of early and more modern works was published in Switzerland.
Exhibition activity complements tours of short-term exhibitions of fine arts, which primarily reflect the art scene and activity in the field of contemporary art. In addition to presenting traditional artistic and visual media (exhibitions focused on traditional painting, graphics, or sculpture), the gallery also offers a space for alternative expression and presents to a large extent the contemporary forms of art, which often move on neo-conceptual planes and thus communicate more with the human being as such “Forcing” him to think more deeply about himself, about life, the world around him … they offer an art that he does not want to keep silent about, but wants to talk about interesting and uncompromising current themes and ideas. Some exhibitions are also conceived as a subjective statement by the author about absolute self-reflection – self-assessment, self-creation, and progress that accompanies the search for answers to many questions or exclamations.