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Exhibitions and Projects
12 October 2011–12 February 2012

New Acquisitions 2001–2010

National Gallery of Slovenia

The art fund of the National Gallery of Slovenia comprises three collections: the collection of paintings, the collection of sculptures and the collection of works on paper. Since its establishment in 1918, one of the central and perhaps most important concerns of the National Gallery of Slovenia has been collecting artworks and updating its existing collections with purchases, gifts and bequests. During the initial decades, notices of new acquisitions were published in the yearly reports of the Art History Journal (Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino), whereas the newly acquired works of art were presented for the first time in a special exhibition and catalogue in 1976. The director of the time, Dr Anica Cevc, began the introduction to the catalogue with a quote from the manifesto, which the Steering Committee for the Establishment of the National Gallery of Slovenia sent to the two daily newspaper Slovenski rod (Slovenian Nation) and Slovenec (The Slovenian) in September 1918. This founding manifesto already sets out the core mission of the National Gallery of Slovenia, which is “to collect, and by means of collecting, to preserve works of art”. This duty, which was alive in 1976, still remains relevant in its outline today.

The path taken since then is a long one, and the history of the institution and its collections diverse. Perhaps the art fund, which channels the complete work of the National Gallery of Slovenia, is best presented through its exhibitions, catalogues, monographs, papers, as well as a range of other publications. If we focus on the additions in the art fund, the balance sheet for the period between 2001 and 2010 would include:
– 121 paintings,
– 15 sculptures, and
– 1139 works on paper.
With the new acquisitions we go back to the 17th century and through different periods up to and including the 20th century.

In the last two years we have had to limit and adapt our collection policy, particularly in terms of cost, due to the increasingly modest, even unacceptably low, state subsidies. Due to limited funds for purchases we were unable to acquire some important works of art, which had long been on the priority list. A more flexible financing schedule of purchases and release of public funds would allow for better outcomes.

However, it is a welcome indication that there are more and more private donors, artists and collectors that are passing the ownership and management of their oeuvres or collections over to the National Gallery of Slovenia, thus allowing a more complete presentation of artistic development. They have put aside their personal desires in favour of broader interests, and have thus demonstrated their generosity and loyalty. By number of inventory units, the donations exceed two thirds of the newly acquired works in the period dealt with.

The exhibition, which we are handing over to the public, as well as the accompanying catalogue, represent a fraction of the works acquired in the last decade. From the extensive material, 110 artworks were selected for the show. These were not only assessed according to quality and significance, but also their material condition, as some are still waiting to be restored. Several works have already been studied by experts, published and exhibited. The entire print oeuvre of Marjan Pogačnik was exhibited in 2001, the donated prints of Bojan Kovačič in 2011, many individual artworks were shown to the public in the Slovene Impressionists and Their Time exhibition in 2008, whereas some may be viewed in the permanent collections display. When we re-evaluated the permanent collection of Slovenian art in 2009, we expanded its geographic scope to include parts of the Štajerska and Primorska regions, whereas the 19th century and the Impressionists were also supplemented with some newly acquired paintings. Already in 2007 we presented all of the twelve unknown paintings by Franc Kavčič/Caucig. Some new acquisitions were shown in the First Impressions (2008) and Drawing in Slovenia I (2009) exhibitions.

While the exhibition of very diverse materials has been organized by subject and aesthetic considerations, its catalogue has been conceived encyclopaedically. It contains the displayed and catalogued exhibits, listed alphabetically by the artists’ surnames. Since these are all well-known artists, their biographies were not especially cited; as far as necessary, their biographical data constitutes a part of the text beside the reproduction. The bibliography is limited to the bare minimum, otherwise we have kept the scheme of the catalogue units to date in their entirety, despite the time-consuming and inevitably painstaking work involved in the standard catalogues accompanying the study exhibitions of the National Gallery of Slovenia. Notwithstanding the unfavourable financial circumstances, we have maintained the design standard of the catalogue with reproductions of all the exhibited works.

Looking back at the past decade fills us with satisfaction. Let us be proud of our work, of the advanced mental map of our artistic past. We want to share its universal language with the highest number of people, regardless of age, ethnicity or any other definition. With the collections of the National Gallery of Slovenia, the care and study dedicated to them, the exhibiting and publishing, we wish to partake in shaping the collective identity of our time. We continue with solid optimism that also during the time of crisis, both, those responsible in institutions, as well as individuals, will continue to favour the visual arts and draw inspiration from them in their work.

Barbara Jaki

The works of art 2001–2010 were donated by

Janez Bernik, Janez Boljka, Bruno Breschi, Špelca Čopič, Aleksandra Derganc, Irene Dickenhorst, Galerija Gallus, Kostja Gatnik, Lojze Gostiša, Brigitte Herz, Angelika Hribar, Tatjana Jakac, Zora Janžekovič, Andrej Jemec, Franc Kersnik, Maj Klemenčič, Bojan Kovačič, Brane Kovič, Metka Krašovec, Nuša Lapajne, Jernej Mali, Janez Merčun, Stanko Možina, Jožef Muhovič, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ranko Novak, Leonhard Podgornik, Bogomila and Marjan Pogačnik, Dušan C. Prevoršek, Matej Roesmann, Uroš Roesmann, Ksenija Rozman, Kemal Selmanović, Anton Vladimir Urbanc, Žarko Vrezec, Zavod za gojitev divjadi Kozorog , Kamnik (Kozorg Institute for Wild Animal Breeding, Kamnik), and Ciril Zorman.

The greatness of man can also be measured by his generosity. Of hands, thoughts, gaze and heart. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the great people that have significantly contributed to the Slovene national collection during the period from 2001 to 2010.

Author of the exhibition, editor of the catalogue and leader of the project
Barbara Jaki

Writers of the texts
Mateja Breščak, Barbara Jaki, Marja Lorenčak Kiker, Kristina Preininger, Alenka Simončič, Andrej Smrekar, Ferdinand Šerbelj

Restoration-conservation preparation of material
Tina Buh, Nina Dorič, Andrej Hirci, Barbka Gosar Hirci, Miha Pirnat jr., Simona Škorja, Tamara Trček Pečak, Martina Vuga

Exhibition design and graphic design
Ranko Novak

The project was supported by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Spar European Shopping Centers

12 October 2011–12 February 2012
The Exhibition is extended!
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia