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Swiss expert Winzeler to head NG’s old art collection

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Prague, Dec 30 (CTK) – Swiss historian Marius Winzeler, who will head the Prague-seated National Gallery´s (NG) old art collection as of January, is the last of the senior managers the new NG director Jiri Fajt has chosen for his closest aides since his appointment in mid-2014.

The modern and contemporary art section has been headed by Milena Kalinovska since October. One of her tasks is to decide on the future of the functionalist Trade Fair Palace which hosts the collection.

Since December 1, Kalinovska has headed the collection of the 19th-century art, seated in the Salm palace, as well.

After Kalinovska, who worked in Washington for a long time, and Adam Budak, the NG´s new chief curator who is of Polish origin but worked in Austria and the USA, Winzeler is another senior manager with experience from abroad, something that is still unusual in Czech state-run cultural institutions.

Fajt dismissed the previous head of the old art collection, Vit Vlnas, last December. Vlnas had led the collection from 2001. The directors of the 19th-century and modern and contemporary art collections, Sarka Leubnerova and Helena Musilova, ended in their posts as well.

All three defended themselves saying their sacking was unfounded and that Fajt had no replacement for them.

Fajt put up an international competition for the vacancies and chose Kalinovska as director of the Trade Fair Palace. She recommended that Fajt should consider to personally interlink the modern and 19th-century art sections.

Winzeler, a Swiss art historian who has worked in Germany for long, will be in charge of the collections in the Schwarzenberg Palace (Czech baroque) and the Sternberg Palace (mainly European renaissance art).

He reportedly plans to transform the former exhibition into a gallery of European mannerism and baroque.

The Sternberg Palace is to be reconstructed and its garden opened to the public. In future, it should also host the NG´s collection of non-European art.

In the St Agnes Convent, that also belongs to the NG and will be managed by Winzeler, a bigger emphasis is to be put on interconnection of the Czech and European art.

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