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More than 30 valuable artworks missing from National Gallery collection

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Prague, July 20 (CTK) – Several dozen artifacts are missing from the National Gallery (NG) in Prague, the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) has found out and announced in a press release about its inspection yesterday.
It included information about the NKU’s checks not only in the NG, but also in the National Library (NK) and the National Technical Library (NTK).
During the stocktaking of the NG collections completed in 2012, the gallery could not find 31 drawings by renowned Czech 20th-century artists, such as Josef Lada, Frantisek Kupka and Jan Zrzavy.
The NG filed a legal complaint over the loss of Zrzavy’s drawing entitled Zeyer’s Garden only during the NKU’s inspection, that is at least 13 years after the artifact got lost, the NKU said.
The NG lent Zrzavy’s work along with 16 other drawings to the exhibition “Prague 1990” held in a museum in Amsterdam in 1999-2000.
“After the exhibition, the gallery took over the drawing from a transport company, according to the respective documents. However, two years later, it found out that the drawing was missing,” the NKU inspectors said, adding that the gallery had filed a complaint only 13 years later.
Apart from drawings, a painting, a bronze statue and 978 items registered in a graphic art collection are missing from the NG.
The NKU has also criticised the NG for not having carried out stocktaking of its collection in its depository at the Zbraslav chateau on outskirts of Prague after the 2002 floods that damaged it.
In connection with the floods, the NG could not find 35 artifacts mainly by Czech sculptor Karel Dvorak (1893-1950). In addition, the NG managers did not report the loss to the police, the NKU said.
The inspection also revealed some shortcomings in placing public orders.
The NTK, for instance, placed a public order worth 29 million crowns for services and auditing with a particular firm without a tender.
The NKU has also found out that the NK’s employees used the library’s cars for private trips, while the NK paid for the fuels. The NKU reported the case to the respective financial office.
($1=24.843 crowns)

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