Kubišta, Pinkas, Sekal et al. GWB’s Acquisitions of 2012–2021

22/06/2022 to 28/09/2022
exhibition hall "13"
Petr Jindra
Petr Jindra

The exhibition of a selection of the acquisitions that the Gallery of West Bohemia has acquired to its collection since 2011 follows an earlier exhibition summarizing acquisitions from 2008–2011 (Hodek, Kars, Max et al., 2011). The collecting activities of the GWB have established a certain pattern over time, the priorities defined by the document Concept of the Collection Activities of the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen 2017–2021. It consists of artworks from the second half of the 20th century and contemporary art, for the purchase of which the non-state contributory organizations received support in 2017 from the Acquisition Fund of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, which the Gallery used every year.

The collection of architecture was enriched by the acquisition of the photographic archive of the architect Karel Lhota from Pilsen, an associate of Adolf Loos, who was photographed many times during his stays in the city. The collection of 19th century art was extended by the acquisition of works by August Piepenhagen, Václav Brožík and Hippolyt Soběslav Pinkas. One of the most important acquisitions of the GWB in the last decade has been a set of three etchings by Bohumil Kubišta from the early period of the artist’s work. The acquisition has enriched the collection of exceptionally prized art of pre-WWI modernism and brought important correlations to the stock of Kubišta’s early works in the GWB’s collection. Among regional artists, the collection of important Pilsen artists of the interwar and WWII years, František Pořický and Josef Tetínek, has been complemented. Regional art collection of the 1950s and 1960s has been enriched by the purchase of works from the early oeuvre of Jiří Patera, the most important painter in Pilsen in the second half of the 20th century.

In accordance with the Concept of the Collection Activities, the Gallery focused on works by leading Czech artists of the second half of the 20th century with the aim of supplementing its incomplete collection with important artists and artistic phenomena, especially from the unofficial sphere of culture affected by the totalitarian regimes of the 1940s–50s and 1970s–80s. The collections from these periods were thus expanded by the works of the peculiar artist Ivan Sobotka from the 1940s–1960s as well as from the later period of his work. Another one-off personality of unofficial art in the 1980s was Viktor Karlík. The GWB purchased a representative set of two paintings and two objects from his work from this period, including the initiatory and iconic Hamlet from 1983. In the same year, three carefully selected works by Zbyněk Sekal were purchased, representing the work of this European artist from the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2019, extraordinary works by Jiří John and Adriena Šimotová contributed to the collection of unofficial or regime-independent art from the period of political totalitarianism and ‘normalisation’.

One of the main tasks of the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen is not only to collect art, but also to make it accessible. Until such time as the Gallery’s own building with the necessary space for the permanent exhibition of the collections has been completed, the Gallery is trying to incorporate the works stored in its depository into exhibition and publication projects so that they become part of the living history of visual arts. That is why this exhibition has been included in the exhibition programme, which introduces visitors to a selection of the most important artists and works that the Gallery has added to its collection in the given period.