Thursday, January 6, 2011

A modern palace

This is the last day of the exhibition titled: " Monet-Warhol: Masterpieces From the Albertina and the Batliner Collection" at the National Gallery in Prague or to be more specific the Veletrzni Palace (Art from the 20th and 21st Centuries)

Two months ago, a large panel advertising the exhibition greeted me at the airport. Paris was struck by a Monet fever with two exhibitions, one at Le Grand Palais and the other at the Musee Marmottan. Of course, I was curious to see Monet in Prague. My deception was great when I realized that only one of his paintings was on display at the entrance, "The Water Lily Pond", 1917-1919. The rest of the exhibition was composed of mediocre works from known painters like Max Ernst, Dubuffet, Fontana, Sol LeWitt, Matisse, Kandinsky and more and of course a few Warhol. No photographs were allowed. The 80 works were on loan from the Albertina's permanent collection in Vienna.

However... the visit was worth it. First, I discovered another area of Prague, after a trip with the tramway from the Vltava river to the hills with a beautiful view of the city.

I was also able to visit the permanent collections. The building itself is modern, vast with ample space to display the collections of modern and contemporary art dispersed on 5 floors. Like any building in Prague (it seems) it has its own history. Built in 1925-29, it was destroyed in 1974, and rebuilt to reopen in 1995.

There was a disclaimer at the beginning of the exhibition of International Art, the collection is still modest due to the country's isolation during the Communist regime. Some of the paintings were not in great condition, but one could find Klimt, Egon Schiele, Edward Munch, Egon Adler, Otto Dix, Georg Grosz to name a few.

Czech artists were well represented, and I discovered most of them

Of course, an area was occupied by the works made in glass.

I spent several hours in the Museum, and forgot that I came to see much more.

photographs by the author

1.The introduction to the exhibition with three sculptures: " Six Headed Horse", Germaine Richier, 1956, " Standing Cardinal", Giacomo Manzu, 1978, "Under the Bridges of Paris", Max Ernst, 1961
2." Castle with a Moat", Georg Klimt, 1908-1909
3."Family Trip", Max Ernst, 1919
4."Great Dialogue", Karel Nepras, 1966
5."Three Dimensional Composition for the World Exhibition", Rene Roubicek, 1922

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