Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism

The Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism currently manages over 9,000 paintings and 5,000 sculptures. The foundations of the collection fund were laid via acquisitions made by the Picture Gallery of the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts and the Modern Gallery; the collection saw a dramatic increase with the legendary French art collection purchase by the Czechoslovak state in 1923.

František-Kupka,-amorpha.jpg
František Kupka, Amorpha. Fugue in Two Colours, 1912

During the 20th century, the fund grew further with the legacies of and donations by artists and private collectors; the most important one was the 1960 donation from the collection of Vincenc Kramář, historian, art collector, and erstwhile Director of the Picture Gallery.

The subcollection of Czech paintings now comprises works of Classicism, Empire style, Romanticism, Realism, as well as various late 19th century styles and artistic movements including Naturalism, Symbolism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau. These styles of art are represented by the works of Josef Navrátil, Josef Mánes, Adolf Kosárek, Karel Purkyně, Jaroslav Čermák, Antonín Chittussi, Václav Brožík, František Ženíšek, Jakub Schikaneder, and Vojtěch Hynais; the collection also covers authors entering the art scene in the 1890s ⁠–⁠ Jan Preisler, Antonín Hudeček, and Antonín Slavíček. A unique set of paintings made by František Kupka between the 1890s and the 1930s forms a part of the collection as well, including the Amorpha. Fugue in Two Colours. painting. The first half of the 20th century is represented by fundamental painting sets by August Brömse, Josef Čapek, Vincenc Beneš, František Foltýn, Karel Holan, Miloslav Holý, Georges Kars, Pravoslav Kotík, Bohumil Kubišta, Rudolf Kremlička, Otakar Kubín, František Muzika, Willi Nowak, Vojtěch Preissig, Jindřich Prucha, Václav Špála, Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen, Jan Zrzavý, and many others.

The subcollection of Czech sculptures numbers a sizeable convolution of works from the early 19th century by Václav Levý, Josef Malínský, Václav Prachner, through sets of works by František Bílek, Josef Mařatka, Ladislav Šaloun, Stanislav Sucharda, and Otto Gutfreund, to Zdeněk Pešánek’s kinetic sculptures, and the output of sculptors Mary Duras, Marta Jirásková, and Hana Wichterlová. Artistic legacies of Josef Václav Myslbek, Bohumil Kafka, and Jan Štursa constitute an important part of the collection.

The most significant component of the collection of international art is the collection of 19th and 20th century French art, containing paintings by Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Delacroix, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso, and sculptures by Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, Auguste Rodin, and Émile-Antoine Bourdelle. German and Austrian artists are amply represented too, with crucial works by Caspar David Friedrich, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Emil Orlik, Max Oppenheimer, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, and Gustav Klimt. A less sizeable fund is made up of the works of Russian artists, such as Ilya Repin, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, Aristarkh Vasilyevich Lentulov, and other European authors like Edvard Munch, Gino Severini, and Constantin Meunier.

The Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism therefore administers the most comprehensive set of Czech paintings and sculptures from the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, as well as the most important convolution of 19th and 20th century foreign authors working in the Czech lands. The Collection was created in 2018 by merging the original Collection of 19th Century Art with a part of the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art dedicated to artists born at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries whose works ⁠–⁠ most of them, at least ⁠–⁠ were made before 1945: for example, Emil Filla, František Kupka, Josef Šíma, Toyen, and Georges Braque, Oskar Kokoschka, and Pablo Picasso among the foreign authors.

Contact

Martina Onderová, Assistent and Documenter 
modern.art@ngprague.cz

People

Veronika Hulíková
Director of the Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism
Martina Bezoušková, Ph.D.
Curator of the Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism
PhDr. Irena Nývltová
Curator of the Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism
PhDr. Anna Pravdová, Ph.D
Curator of the Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism