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Collections to go to Dresden pending Czech gallery reconstruction

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Prague, Oct 19 (CTK) – The National Gallery in Prague (NG) will loan a part of its modern art collections to Dresden to put them on display pending the planned reconstruction of Prague’s Trade Fair (Veletrzni) Palace the NG uses to present modern and contemporary art, NG director Jiri Fajt has told CTK.

The artifacts are to be temporarily relocated from 2020 to 2023. The NG is also negotiating with other European museums and galleries on a possible presentation of its collections, he said.

Fajt wants the valuable functionalist palace’s reconstruction to improve the conditions for the visitors and for the artifacts on display. After several-year effort, he won the government’s support for it recently.

The costs, estimated at one billion crowns, are to be covered from a new government programme that is yet to be approved.

“After the Culture Ministry earmarks the sum it promised to pay for the architectonic competition, the NG will launch it by the end of the year,” Fajt said.

He said he would like the competition winner to emerge by mid-2018, the reconstruction plans to be completed by 2020 and the reconstruction itself to start in late 2020 or early 2021.

Parallelly with having to transfer its collections from the Trade Fair Palace, the NG plans to build a new depository for its artifacts out of display, Fajt said, adding that a site for the depository has been chosen in the Nove Butovice neighbourhood on the western outskirts of Prague.

The reconstructed Trade Fair Palace might be reopened around mid-2024.

By the time, we will prepare exhibitions of works from our modern and contemporary art collections, which could be held in our partner institutions in Europe, one of which is in Dresden, Fajt said.

The NG and Dresden’s State Arts Collections (SKD) signed a partnership deal a few days ago.

The starting project is the Prague-Dresden Train of Culture, which will present the two countries’ artists on the railway connecting the two cities. Its cycle of four cultural rides will start on November 4. A ticket for it will also serve as a ticket to the NG in Prague or the SKD in Dresden.

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