moravska galerie v brně International Visegrad fund

J. Schreiber & Neffen

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Following the new law No. 109 on museums and galleries the Slovak National Gallery divided in 1961 its collections into three specialized departments. A new Department of Applied and Industrial Arts (today’s The Collections of Architecture, Applied Arts and Design) was created along with usual earlier departments. In spite of being originally intended as ad interim to form a base for the UMPRUM (Museum of Applied Arts) establishment, it would remain permanently within the Gallery. Its character would be given by housing the Collections of Architecture, Utilitarian Arts and Design together with other disciplines of the arts under one roof. Since the very beginning it has been more composed to include applied arts resonating existing trends of fine arts, less to contain design. It is, actually, reflected by acquisitions, research, activities and exhibitions.    

Approximately since 1990, the Collections of Architecture, Applied Arts and Design have been a regular part of key scientific research performed by the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) as an outcome of regular co-operation with curators of the Collections of Modern and Temporary Arts. Today, this special Collection is the only one of this sort in Slovakia, and is unique (both content and extent) within the whole network of museums and galleries. The collection of applied arts has been classified by material as usual. Among the most valuable acquisitions in the Glass Collections is a vast collection of tiny glass cups coming from not existing Slovak glassworks, the most outstanding of which come from Lednické Rovne (gathered by sets or single items), dating from the period between the two world wars. 

The Collection also boasts sets of drinking glassware dating from the 1960s and 1970s (mostly coming from the glassworks in Lednické Rovne) designed by renowned artists like Karol Hološka, Jaroslav Taraba or Dagmar Kudrová; drinking sets designed by glass artists Askold Žáčko, Štěpán Palom, Ladislav Pagáč, Juraj Kolembus, or Juraj Steinhübel, the 1980s; and by Patrik Ill, the 1990s.

Besides drinking glassware, dessert sets, decorative vases, bowls and plates the Collection has been amassed by items without prevailing utility function – decorative glass objects. Special part of the Collection focused on glass sculpture spans the significant period of this glass art development in Slovakia from the mid-1960s up to the present day. The Collection mainly contains items by graduates from the so-called Bratislava Glass School, Department of Glass and Architecture (between 1965-1978 Bratislava University of Fine Arts) led by Václav Cigler, such as Askold Žáčko, Juraj Gavula, Pavol Tomečko, Jozef Tomečko, Eva Fišerová, Marián Mudroch, Juraj Opršal, Juraj Mýtny, Zora Pálová and others. The Collection also boasts works by Václav Cigler alone, or other Czech glass artists (František Janák, Oldřich Plíva). The collection of glass sculpture features characteristic and profile sample of artists’ conception and potential provided by this “beautiful material”. One unique part of the collection contains items by Ľubomír Blecha, the only one here in Slovakia who developed the technique of hot glass processing, and whose artworks balance the sculptures by other Slovakia glass artists who mainly work in optical glass cutting, and focus themselves on geometric and constructivist line.

The Collection now is being added to by acquisitions relating to the glass manufacture history, or coming from glassworks in Slovakia, likewise single artists’ collections are being acquired by donations and purchases.