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Prague’s National Gallery plans reconstructions in 2017

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Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) – The National Gallery (NG) in Prague plans changes in its permanent displays and reconstructions of its premises in 2017 after a series of successful temporary exhibitions that attracted high attendance last year, NG general director Jiri Fajt has told CTK.
In total, 712,690 people visited permanent and temporary exhibitions on the NG premises last year, which is almost twice more than in 2014.
Fajt assumed the post of NG general director in mid-2014.
In 2016, the Czech-German project presenting the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378) and his era, held in the National Gallery’s Wallenstein Riding School in Prague on the occasion of his 700th birth anniversary, was the most successful exhibition in the Czech Republic. It was visited by 92,857 people in four months.
The NG has three projects in the top ten of the most visited art exhibitions last year.
Out of the other NG projects in 2016, the second most visited was the exhibition of French artist Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), the first in the Czech Republic, prepared in cooperation with the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, in the NG’s Kinsky Palace that attracted 57,047 people.
As far as the total attendance is concerned, the exhibition of the Slav Epic series of giant paintings by Czech Art-Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) was the most successful. It was seen by 119,675 people in 2016. But this was a long-term project opened for almost five years.
The NG’s exhibtion of American graphic art was visited by 34,567 in 2016.
This year, the NG plans partial repairs of the 18th-century Kinsky Palace and the reconstruction of the baroque Sternberk Palace is to start next year.
In 2019, the NG will stage a large exhibition of Pablo Piccaso.
Along with attracting more visitors to the NG, Fajt said he would like to make the gallery premises in the Kinky Palace more attractive. It has quite a low attendance though it is situated in the highly frequented Old Town Square in historical centre.
The ground floor of the palace will be adjusted before the planned exhibition of German painter Gerhard Richter, 84, the most expensive living artist, takes place there this year. A thorough reconstruction will be launched afterwards.
The interior of the functionalist Veletrzni (Trade Fair) Palace will also be modified to remove some unsuitable architectonic elements.
This year, works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will be displayed there. After the installation of the Zodiac sculpture project outside the Veletrzni Palace last year, the Chinese artist is preparing a monumental installation directly for the main hall in this palace, Fajt said previously.
The fourth floor of the Veletrzni Palace will be rebuilt to house the 19th-century Czech art along with European art from 1796-1914, Fajt said.
Under the previous NG management, the 19th century art was divided into several exhibitions. The 19th-century Salm Palace near Prague Castle now houses the 19th century plastic art from Neoclassicism to Romanticism. As of June 2018, the famous Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary collection will be shown there for five years.
In June 2018, the old European art collections will temporarily move to the Renaissance Schwarzenberg Palace from the nearby Sternberk Palace which will be reconstructed for at least last two years, Fajt said.
His general intention is not to divide the Czech and world art into various expositions, but present the artifacts together in their historical context and mutual relations.
The exposition of modern and contemporary art in the Veletrzni Palace will be changed as of the autumn of 2018 to reflect the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia and the 50th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion. The collection of art from 1945-1989 will be reinstalled, Fajt said.
The revitalisation of the Veletrzni Palace should start in the first half of 2020. The NG plans to put up a tender for addressed Czech and foreign architects in the spring of 2017.
($1=25.644 crowns)
hol/dr/pv

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