101/ II - Masterpieces from the Collection of Prints and Drawings of the National Gallery in Prague (1800-1945)
Author of the Exhibition Concept and Curator: Zuzana Novotná in collaboration with Eva Bendová, Markéta Dlábková, Vít Pelc, Anna Pravdová, and Jana WittlichováTle exhibition concept is based on a scholalry publication 101/ II. - Masterpieces from the Collection of Prints and Drawings of the National Gallery in Prague. It is a selection of 101 works on paper dated between 1800 and 1945, which are being presented in this comprehensive form for the first time. We are not tracing art-historical development, but the works have been selected as solitary pieces or for the mastery and uniqueness of the particular drawing or print, in view of Czech art. Some of the drawings or prints have been published frequently and are generally known, others are very important, and yet there is no wider awareness of the fact that the National Gallery in Prague owns them. The selection also involves works that have seldom or never been published or exhibited, despite their outstanding and representative character. We can encounter here various drawing and graphic techniques, from personal sketches to the most elaborated and final works reflecting the art styles of the given period. The presentation is based on the chronological principle and to explain more about the authors, a chronological survey of that period complements it.
The most famous artists and founding figures of this country are represented here: Josef Bergler, Antonín Blazer, Karel Postl, Antonín and Josef Mánes, Julius Mařák, Mikoláš Aleš, František Ženíšek; the foreign artists include Caspar David Friedrich, Jean Dominique Ingres, Adolf Menzl, Théodore Géricault. The period around 1900 is represented by Jakub Schikaneder, Jan Preisler, Alfons Mucha, František Bílek, Giovanni Segantini, Edvard Munch, Max Liebermann or Gustav Klimt. The renowned so-called French collection contains works by Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso and André Derain. Famous works by František Kupka and Egon Schiele are also present. The Czech artists of the first half of the 20th century include Josef Váchal, Bohumil Kubišta, Jan Zrzavý, Otto Gutfreund, Josef Čapek, Emil Filla, Josef Šíma, Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen, and other masters of drawing and graphic arts.
The selected ensemble naturally could not involve all the scope of our Collection, as we have been partially limited by the number, yet the result offers a new view of the uniqueness of the Prague Collection, which ranks among the most important and valuable cabinets of prints and drawings worldwise. Today's form and contents of the Collection reflect its historical development and continuity in the acquisition activity of our predecessors. This aspect also shows in this exhibition, even though it was not an initial intention.
The exhibition will be held until September 5, owing to the fact that works on paper are very sensitive to damage from long-time exposition to light and can thus be displayed for a short period only.
Tle exhibition is accompanied by the publication mentioned earlier, writen by a team of scholars and offering a singular insight of the various scholarly and critical approaches to the research into masterly drawings and prints.