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Exhibitions and Projects

Hundred Years of the National Gallery of Slovenia


The centenary of a cultural institution is a landmark deserving special attention, particularly if the institution has spent the hundred years of its continuous operation in several political regimes and was lucky to survive also war circumstances.

The 18thof September 1918 is considered the birth date of the National Gallery Society: on that day, in the uncertain situation when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was falling into pieces, the founding general assembly was summoned in Ljubljana. The venture started without any art holdings and without exhibition space. The national consciousness helped to establish the institution that took over the municipal art collection and solemnly opened the exhibition – enlarged by the first purchases – in March 1920 in the residential rooms in the first floor of the Kresija (Kreisamt) palace. In June 1924, the National Gallery Society rented the Jakopič Pavilion from the city council, thus acquiring a space for staging temporary exhibitions. And in November 1925, the Society was also given the use of a major part of the rooms in the Narodni Dom palace, with the exception of those that were occupied by the Sokol (Falcon) gym society, later renamed Partizan, and finally renamed Narodni Dom sports society.

When the National Gallery Society celebrated its tenth anniversary, a selection of works from the Gallery’s holdings was exhibited in twelve rooms of the Narodni Dom palace in December 1928: 230 paintings, 132 pieces of sculpture, and 746 works on paper. This eagerness of the Society’s members further gave rise to a permanent exhibition that was opened in June 1933 and was enlarged by artworks which were renounced or given on loan by the National Museum of Slovenia, the Diocesan Museum, and the above-mentioned Ljubljana municipal art collection.

The National Gallery Society was dissolved by a state decree in August 1945, and on the 1stof June 1946 a state ordinance inaugurated the National Gallery of Slovenia as a state institution.

The growth of the Gallery’s art holdings, which were essentially increased in 1986 through the incorporation of the Slovenian government art collection, required extension to the premises. Thus, in 1994, a detached new wing was added to the Narodni Dom palace, with a large exhibition room for temporary exhibitions, a gallery storey for permanent exhibition of the European collection, storage and garage space, modern offices for the professional staff, and rooms for the library, photo-documentation and photographic studio. All these facts rendered possible to update museum standards. The absence of connection between the Narodni Dom palace and the new wing hindered the working process, and this disadvantage was overcome in September 2001 when a new glass hall was erected which interconnected the two units.

When the honourable jubilee was approaching, thorough renovation of the Narodni Dom palace was finally carried out a few years ago. Acquisition of new spaces resulted in a rearranged and considerably enlarged permanent exhibition of the Gallery’s art holdings, covering the time span from the early 13thcentury to the mid-20th century. The grand opening on the 27thof January 2016, the attainment of years of efforts for updating the collection of national significance, further consolidated the position the National Gallery of Slovenia holds among the European art museums.

Celebrations, marking the 100th anniversary of the National Gallery of Slovenia, are under the honorary patronage of His Excellency Mr Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia.

  • Celebration, 18 September 2018 (video)
  • Solemn celebration, 19 September 2018 (video)