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Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové was founded in 1953 under the name Regional Gallery of what was then Královéhradecký Region. In its early years, the gallery was housed in Rychnov nad Kněžnou Castle. In the spring 1963, the gallery returned to Hradec Králové. Then, it was housed in two wings of former Bishop’s Residence in Great Square. It was renamed as Area Gallery and later as Regional Gallery again (1963-1990). In January 1990, the gallery moved permanently to its current location under its current name-Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové. The present building, where the gallery is housed, is a former seat of a banking and financial institution called Credit Union Bank. Gallery of Modern Art was a replacement for the Museum of Revolutionary Traditions of the East Bohemia Region, that opened in 1988 and shut down in 1990.
The collections represent a development of modern Czech art from late 19th to early 20th century until today. As of 2008, Gallery of Modern Art (commonly abbreviated as GMU) houses a collection of modern art as well as a collection of other works, including former Vladimír Preclík Gallery and Stations of the Cross of the 21st Century. Stations of the Cross is a series of sculptures called Story of Misery and Hope of Men, installed outdoors between villages Stanovice and Žireč near Kuks. 2019 saw foundation of two entirely new collections: Moving Image Collection and Central and Eastern Europe Collection.
DIRECTORS OF GMU:
1953–1956: Božena Hliněnská-Kuhnová (1906–1992)
1956–1963: Jan Baleka (*1929)
1963–1997: Josef Sůva (*1934)
1997–2018: Tomáš Rybička (*1953)
2019-now: František Zachoval (*1979)
Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové is located in the historical centre of the town. The present building is a late art-nouveau construction, designed by Osvald Polívka (1859-1931). The construction began in 1911 and was completed in 1912. The prominent entrance is decorated with two bronze sculptures by Ladislav Šaloun from 1908. The male sculpture represents an allegory of Trade and Accounting, whereas the female sculpture depicts Fertility and Crops. The top floor of the south-west tower of the building boasts two architectural sculptures created by František Fabiánek. Two of them depict atlantes with dogs at their feet, representing Vigilance. The third one depicts an atlas with a beehive, representing Thriftiness.
As a result of a major financial crisis in 1920, the Credit Union Bank underwent transformation and emerged as Commercial Bank. Its building was acquired by Czech Industrial Bank. Top floor of the building housed Public Records Office of Hradec Králové District from 1937 to 1986. In 1943, Czech Industrial Bank merged with Živnostenská banka. Živnostenská banka had its branch in the building until 1958, when the building was made the seat of Association of Cotton Industry in Prague, which was later transformed into Organization for Supply and Purchasing in Agriculture. In 1987, the building was revamped to become Museum of Revolutionary Traditions, that opened in 1988. It shut down a few years later. In 1990, the building began to house Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové, becoming its permanent location.
In 2014-2016, rebuilding programme financed by Hradec Králové Region was completed. It involved renovation and reconstruction of the building and its exteriors and interiors. The project sought to renovate the original decorations in the entrance hall and preserve the historical features of the building in its ground floor, which is where the ticket office, information kiosk, cloakroom, gallery café, gallery shop and chill out zone are located. Another aim was to restore the original details on the first floor that houses the lecture hall, library and study, multi-purpose clubroom and studio where gallery events accompanying exhibitions are held.
Fine interiors of the first-floor house the collections of Vladimír Preclík Gallery. Some of the rooms on upper floors that were not suitable for exhibition purposes were demolished to make way for open galleries around the central light shaft. The fourth floor is divided into separate exhibition halls called White Cube, Black Cube and Space. Original steel structure supporting the glass roof was also renovated.
The reconstruction of the GMU building won the Building of the Year 2017 Award in a national competition held by the Foundation for the Development of Architecture and Construction. In the XVth year of the Gloria Musaealis National Museum Competition, the project received a special award in the category of Museum Achievement of the Year.
Upon prior agreement, the gallery premises (the foyer on the ground floor and the terrace on the 4th floor of the gallery) can be hired for meetings, lectures, corporate parties or wedding ceremonies. Hire is only possible outside gallery opening hours. If you are interested in a quotation, please send an inquiry with a brief description of the event (location, date and time of hire, purpose, number of participants, specific requirements) to email@example.com.
Ing. Hana Doležalová
tel.: 727 806 961
Founder of Gallery of Modern Art
Hradec Králové City Council
Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
Slovak Arts Council