Since it was established in 1953, GMU has created and added to the collection of Gallery of Modern Art. Its collection presents a balanced representation of all periods, artistic movements and tendencies that have influenced the development of Czech art from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to the work of contemporary artists. A substantial part of the collection includes works by artists with ties to the Eastern Bohemia region. The collection of more than 9,000 items is further divided into several sub-collections: Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings, Prints. The collection is open to the public, and its permanent exhibition is regularly renewed.
The core of the collection was formed by collections acquired from former Municipal Picture Gallery (1919-1953). Another addition was a bequest of 100 paintings and works on paper left for Hradec Králové Region from Bishop Josef Doubrava (1852-1921). However, the gallery did not begin to collect art until 1963. Thanks to Gallery Director Dr. Josef Sůva (born 1934), the gallery acquired a lot of unique works of modern Czech art. Currently, GMU acquisition strategy aims to acquire works of art by contemporary Czech artists after 1989, moving images and works of art created in Central and Eastern Europe.
ARTISTS IN THE COLLECTIONS
Here, you will find a list of artists, artistic groups, and genres that are in our collections. Beginnings of modern Czech art (Jan Preisler, Antonín Slavíček, Antonín Hudeček, Václav Radimský), Osma and Skupina artistic group (Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Antonín Procházka, Josef Čapek, Václav Špála), 1920s artists with strong social focus (Miloslav Holý, Karel Holan, Jan Kotík), landscapists-members of Umělecká beseda artistic group (Vojtěch Sedláček, Václav Rabas, Vlastimil Rada), Artificialism, Surrealism, and other artistic tendencies in the interwar period (Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen, Alois Wachsman, Josef Šíma, František Muzika).
Skupina 42 artistic group (Kamil Lhoták, František Gross, František Hudeček, Jan Kotík, Ladislav Zívr), Skupina Ra artistic group (Václav Tikal, Josef Istler, Bohdan Lacina), Art informel and expressive abstraction (Vladimír Boudník, Mikuláš Medek, Robert Piesen, Jiří Balcar, Vladimír Fuka), Volné sdružení 12/15, Better Late than Never artistic group (Ivan Ouhel, Michael Rittstein, Jiří Sopko, Jiří Načeradský, Jiří Beránek, Kurt Gebauer), Tvrdohlaví artistic group (Jiří David, Stanislav Diviš, Jaroslav Róna, Michal Gabriel, Čestmír Suška, František Skála, Petr Nikl et al.)
Also included are works by Augusta Nekolová, Josef Váchal, Jan Zrzavý, František Tichý, Zdeněk Sklenář, Jiří Kolář, Václav Bartovský, Jiří John, Věra Janoušková, Jitka Svobodová, Václav Boštík, Zorka Ságlová, Karel Malich, Zdeněk Sýkora, Adriena Šimotová, Milan Langr, Miloš Šejn, Milan Knížák.
Works by contemporary artists are added to the collection on a continual basis. As of now, the collection includes works by Anna Hulačová, Matyáš Chochola, Martin Zet, Vladimír Houdek, Milena Dopitová, Vladimír Skrepl, Jiří Petrbok, Mark Ther, Veronika Šrek Bromová, Václav Jirásek, Lubomír Typlt, Marie Lukáčová, Michal Kindernay, Radoslav Pavlíček, Lenka Klodová, Anna Daučíková, Zbyněk Baladrán, Marketa Othová et al.
Our collection of paintings includes all major movements and tendencies in the 20th century. A significant part of the collection is occupied by works of Czech modernism, especially imaginative art, and its transformations, including the socially critical ones (Poetism, Surrealism, Art informel, Czech grotesque etc.)
The collection includes exceptional paintings that could sell for astronomical prices on the art market. The paintings in question include the following: Salome’s Last Dance by Emil Filla, Straw by Josef Šíma, Painting by Jindřich Štyrský, Daughter of the City IV by Kamil Lhoták, Hide, War! by Alois Wachsman, some notable paintings by Bohumil Kubišta as well as paintings by Josef Váchal, Mikuláš Medek and members of Skupina 42 artistic group.
Procession In Oak Forest (1877, 1914-1915) by Ilya Yefimovich Repin is probably the most valuable painting in the collection. Works by contemporary artists are added to the collection on a continual basis. Those include Blue Anagram by Vladimír Houdek, Let’s Set the Sun on Fire in the Middle of the Night by Lubomír Typlt, Green III by Zorka Ságlová, Narcisse by Vladimír Kokolia and many more.
Statues, sculptures, reliefs, and spatial objects represent the smallest part of the GMU collections, since the gallery did not have a suitable space for their storage for a long time. A large part of this collection consists of works of authors who have ties with Eastern Bohemia. The region is famous for its sculpting tradition as a number of notable sculptors were born there or worked in School of Sculpture in Hořice. Major pieces in the collection include late works by Ladislav Zívr, the bequest of Quido Kocián as well as works by Josef Wagner.
Movements such as Czech Art informel and Czech grotesque are also included in our collections (Karel Nepraš, Jan Koblasa, Aleš Veselý and Vladímír Janoušek), along with works by Hugo Demartini and Radoslav Kratina, who represent geometric abstraction movement. Most valuable pieces in our sculpture collection were created by the 1960s-1980s generation of artists: Dandy and Ballerine by Karel Nepraš, Enigma I and Cumulation by Aleš Veselý, Caterpillar (Perestroikas) by Kurt Gebauer.
Currently, new acquisitions of contemporary sculptures are being made. Latest additions include the following: Solstice Demons by Matyáš Chochola, Apollo and Dionysus by Anna Hulačová, Gentlemen by Martin Zet, Variable Stone M by Lenka Klodová, Bent Trees by Jitka Svobodová and many more.
Undoubtedly, the largest part of our extensive collection of drawings consists of traditional studies, often sculptural ones (Ladislav Beneš, Josef Škoda, Josef Wagner, Ladislav Zívr, Jan Štursa and many more). Drawings collection is the only part of GMU collection that contains a large number of pieces by 19th century artists (Felix Jenewein, Julius Mařák, Luděk Marold, Josef Tulka, Jan Nowopacký, Jan Preisler et al.). Another major piece is a set of cardboard sheets with designs for interior decorations of the church in Grunta village, which actually came to life. A small yet fine part of the collection consists of works by Aleš Veselý, Ladislav Novák, Josef Vyleťal and other artists, whose creations from 1960s and 1970s were inspired by imaginative art and Surrealism.
Adriena Šimotová, Václav Stratil, Jitka Svobodová, Jiří Kornatovský, Čestmír Suška, Jan Steklík and Miloš Šejn represent the powerful 1980s generation. Works by Czech artists are accompanied by a rare series of drawings from Asia. One of them, Shrimps is signed by its author, Chinese painter Qi Baishi. Currently, new acquisitions of contemporary drawings are being made. One of them is a drawing called Stele III by Margita Titlová Ylovsky, measuring nearly 4 metres.
The collection contains a large number of unique sets of Czech origin and includes all major artistic movements and tendencies of the 20th century and examples of nearly all printmaking techniques, from prints from wooden or metal plates to experimental prints and modern digital printmaking techniques.
Highlights of the collections include examples of Czech Art Nouveau and Symbolism printmakers, who were mostly members of Sursum artistic group (Josef Váchal, Jan Konůpek, František Kobliha, Rudolf Adámek). The collection also boasts a large set of etchings by Bohumil Kubišta and other modernists. Some fine pieces by members of Skupina 42 and late 1950s and 1960s artists are another interesting part of the collection.
Vladimír Boudník’s artworks (material prints, active graphics) cannot be omitted. The collection also includes photographs and photocollages predominantly taken by contemporary artists (Václav Jirásek, Veronika Šrek Bromová, Markéta Othová, Miloš Šejn et al.).
Photography collection was founded in 2019. The gallery will seek to expand this collection on a systematic basis by acquiring works by post-1989 artists. Acquisition strategy is thus focused on postmodern tendencies in photography.
The collection includes several chefs-d’oeuvre: Photoamputation/Photoimplant by Veronika Šrek-Bromová, Four Masks by Milena Dopitová, Egalité by Martin Zet, Hi, Grandma by Markéta Othová, Flying on the St. Nicolas Day 1-9 by Václav Jirásek and Present by Miloš Šejn, to name a few.