Due to the renovation plans of the deteriorated building of Narodni dom, we had to remove the permanent collection Art in Slovenia. After careful preparation, we have put up the collection in the new wing of the National Gallery of Slovenia where, because of a different configuration of the rooms, new presentation possibilities have shown themselves and new, different connections between the exhibits have been made. This display is going to be on view up till the autumn of 2015, that is, until the renovation of the Narodni dom palace is completed. In the renovated original space, the collection will shine in a new light and according to contemporary museology standards. European Paintings collection is now on view in limited setup in the New wing exhibit hall. Based on a visitors' survey, the legends of some of the most popular works of art have been equipped with QR codes.
All works of art from the collections are still available to view on the National Gallery of Slovenia website. Please note that the visitor entrance is located only at Prešernova cesta 24. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
The presentation of its collection of European paintings is an important milestone in the history of the National Gallery. For over thirty-five years this part of the stock had been buried in the depots. With additions and the latest findings we are now gratified to be able to present it to the public, which has been awaiting this event for a number of years. The efforts to again present a comprehensive picture of our institution go back over twenty years. That is how long the systematic research undertaken by Dr. Ksenija Rozman, in collaboration with Professor Federico Zeri, has been running. The findings were presented in three exhibitions, which included material from many Slovenian public collections. The exemplary scientific level of the research assured the authors international attention. The National Gallery can thus be said to have fulfilled its mission as the leading national institution.
In the late eighties it became possible to mount the collection. The work completed up to that time had produced sufficient results to enable the Gallery to plan and realise new premises. An agreement with the Slovenian government of the time enabled the National Gallery to round off its collection with works in the possession of the state administration and a wide variety of state institutions. Unfortunately, since 1990 new interpretations of this agreement have been put forward, so that the question of the status of some of the material covered under this title has still not been conclusively determined.
From the point of view of our profession there is no doubt. If the government takes its services seriously enough and is prepared to ensure the public interest without keeping its fingers crossed behind its back, then the material in the keeping of the public administration must be subjected to selection on a scientific basis and should be in professional custody, in view of its established importance as part of the national artistic heritage. It is clear that the State requires representative official premises, but it will have to make an effort and invest in the purchase of appropriate furnishings. I hope that we will soon see a government generous enough to make a reasonable response to the calls from professional circles and the enlightened public.
The present catalogue of the new permanent collection sets a new professional standard for the treatment of works which should be accessible to the public at all times. The editor and co-author has been able to achieve this in the course of the three exhibitions held so far. A catalogue of this kind is obviously not the place for personal views and the discussion of individual topical problems, the catalogue items have been produced according to the principles in use in reference literature. They provide basic and authenticated information and an overview of the most important theories, thus enabling those interested to undertake further searches. We hope to be able to provide the same service for that part of the collection which we used to describe as »local« art.
Contemporary museum work is not without its methodological difficulties and we have been aware of them for some time. With the presentation of our collection of European paintings the question of the classification of the fund into a »Slovenian« and a »European« part has again arisen. From the point of view of cultural history there can be no doubts, but as regards aesthetics and art criticism there are a number of questions to which we do not (as yet) have unequivocal answers. To impoverish one in favour of the other, or deprive the latter in favour of the former, incorporate everything into one collection, divide the holdings into smaller collections on the basis of one definition or another – such questions are likely to occupy the profession for some time yet, and undoubtedly the arguments will increase the efficiency of the presentation of the Gallery’s collections, provide more in-depth interpretations and benefit the art history profession in general. The fact that the international collection will also finally be available to the public indisputably remains a historical milestone.