The Best of. The best of the collections of the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen

01/10/2021 to 16/01/2022
exhibition hall Masné krámy
Roman Musil
Eva Skořepová

The Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen is almost the only regional gallery in the Czech Republic that has insufficient space for a permanent exhibition that would show visitors the quality of its collections. For this and other reasons we have decided to hold an exhibition in 2021 to give an idea of what such a permanent exhibition might look like in the Gallery’s new building. A permanent exhibition helps to define an institution’s identity, establish closer ties with the public, and develop the educational aspects of its programmes, especially programmes for children, schools and families.

The exhibition follows some of the Gallery’s earlier exhibition and publishing projects focusing on important genres in the Gallery’s collections such as 19th-century art, fin de siècle art, Czech Cubism, interwar modernism and art from the 1960s. One of these projects was a book published by Scala in London as part of its Director’s Choice series, which presented key works from the 14th to the 20th centuries chosen by the Gallery’s director.

The concept for the exhibition is based on a selection of prominent artists who made a significant contribution to West Bohemian, Czech and in some cases European art in the 19th and 20th centuries, and who are well represented in the Gallery’s collections. Their works will present the history of the development of particular movements in Czech fine art over two centuries, and show the preference for particular genres from the perspective of the distinction between low and high art and the later realigning of values established by European modernism. Another factor was how the Gallery’s acquisition programme changed under the former Czechoslovakia’s official cultural policy and then in the newly founded Czech Republic.