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Exhibitions and Projects
Exhibition | 10 Mar. – 29 May 2022

New Acquisitions


For the National Gallery of Slovenia, the past decade has been a time of great milestones and extraordinary wide-ranging successes. We based our work on the guiding principle of the former Director Anica Cevc, who asserted that we borrowed our legacy from the generations to come.

At the end of 2015, we completed the three-year reconstruction of the Narodni dom Palace. We connected the renovated building with the New Wing and the Entrance Hall, thus preparing the premises for a new permanent collection of art in Slovenia. In January 2016, we opened it to the public together with the renovated premises. A carefully thought-out selection by the Gallery’s curators realised a long-standing wish to connect two previously separate collections of "Slovenian" and "European" art. The new permanent collection is more extensive in terms of the number of exhibited works, it covers a larger geographical area, completes some bodies of work and periods, presents new authors and includes more names. Just a few months after the opening of the new collection, in May 2016, we handed over to the public another permanent collection – a donation of works by Zoran Mušič, entrusted to us by the artist's niece Vanda Mušič.

In the past decade, the national art collection has been enriched by 3,708 works of art, all of which have already been entered in the inventory books. The largest increase is recorded in the collection of works on paper, which is 2,815 units larger, followed by the collection of photographs with 482 novelties, and the painting fund with 245 works of art, alongside 166 new sculptures.  There are as many donated as purchased works on account of the extensive collection of Jakopič's drawings, numbering 1,708 units. Most purchases are directly financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, with several works of art purchased using our own funds generated from our commercial activity; these allow us flexibility in unexpected opportunities, such as auctions abroad or in other extraordinary developments.

Among the new acquisitions are several that we have been striving for a long time to include into the permanent collection. The first are the genre portraits of Fortunat Bergant’s The Fowler and Man with a Pretzel, which have been missing for decades. After several months of negotiations and with the good will of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the paintings were incorporated into the holdings of the National Gallery. Shortly afterwards, we received an offer from Canada for another of Bergant’s lost works – a portrait of Capuchin Father Gabriel Schwizen; all these works were shown at the monographic Bergant exhibition in 2021.

Some works of art and the way they are obtained are complicated by various stories, sometimes almost detective in nature. Such an example is the painting of Almanach's The Peddlar, which was bought for the National Museum at an auction in 1930 from the collection of Edvard and Karl Strahl, but later disappeared. It appeared in London at an auction in 2006, but we were too late. With the great affection of the staff at Christie’s auction house and of the buyer, we were finally able to purchase the painting and bring it into the permanent collection.

In 2015, we acquired a self-portrait of Zoran Mušič and a portrait of his wife Ida at an auction in Trieste, and at the same time we were gifted a painting of Elda Piščanec sold at the same auction. A long-standing desideratum was also a brilliant painting by the Venetian painter Luc Carlevarijs. We saw Harbour by the Walled City at an exhibition of European painters in 1993, and this time the painting, dated to 1705, is the oldest presented work. Similarly long awaited was Pernhart's preparatory drawing for his vast alpine panorama from Veliki Klek (Grossglockner).

Among the sculptures we highlight several early Art Nouveau-modelled works by Lojze Dolinar and two of his drawings. We should also mention a donation already presented in a solo exhibition and with a catalogue – Mojca Smerdu donated several works of her father Frančišek Smerdu to the National Gallery.

Photography constitutes a special chapter. For many years, due to its heterogeneous nature, it was divided between a collection of documents, documentary photographs and other study collections. The pioneering expertise of the National Gallery in the field of photography restoration, the ranking of August Berthold among the leading Impressionists, photographs taken by Ivana Kobilca and Ferdo Vesel, and growing interest in the history of photography were the main motives for establishing a collection of photographs. Several donations followed. Tihomir Pinter donated a series of portraits of artists in their studios, Tone Stojko donated an album inspired by Svetlana Makarovič, and two albums of original photographs were donated by Peter Kocjančič.

Some new arrivals rounded off past acquisitions. These include the final works by Bojan Kovačič, a gift from Elena Martello Kovačič. A large and surprising donation by Metka Krašovec includes an extensive selection of drawings and paintings. Among the more extensive donations, we should mention at least two corporate collections. The successors of ACH, JSC, Axor Holding, JSC, decided to donate the entire collection to the National Gallery during its division of property. Abanka, JSC, acted similarly when they donated more than three hundred works of art to secure their long-standing collection.

The newly acquired works of art – from the Baroque to the 21st century – combine scenes that do not seem related, but are bound by the fundamental idea of enriching the national collection. We are aware that our collection is not made of only objects, but also of values inherent in them. We want and hope that the exhibition will be a beautiful experience for visitors, and provide welcome information about the richness of our heritage for experts and a solid foundation for further research.

The 2011–2021 works of art were donated by

Abanka, d. d., Ljubljana, Uroš Abram, ACH, d. d., Ljubljana, Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services, Ljudmila Amstetter Ravbar, Aleksander Bassin, Emerik Bernard, Ida Brišnik Remec, Anica Cevc, Gregor Cevc, Matija Cevc, the Ciuha family, Neža Časl Škodič and Edvard Škodič, Ljudmila Čebulj, Anja Dular, Nataša Golob, Ana Hinterlechner Ravnik, Janko Košenina, Milka Košenina, Jani Kovačič, Brane Kovič, Metka Krašovec, Devana Lavrenčič Cannata and Milenka Lavrenčič Lapajne, Dušan Ivan Lavrič, the Mahkota family, Elena Martello Kovačič, Danica Mayer and Smiljana Mayer Škofic, Silva Menart, Stanko Možina, Vanda Mušič, Mojca Oblak and Paul Crowther, Valentin Oman, thePauer family, the Petrovčič family, Luka Pintar, Tihomir Pinter, Ljubomira Marija Poličar, Ksenija Rozman, Mojca Smerdu, Tone Stojko, Hana Stupica, Marlenka Stupica, Maruša, Barbara and Martina Stupica, Miha Šengelaja, Sports Association Narodni dom, Ljubljana, Zorka Šubic Ciani, Mladen Šubic, Jadranka Šumi, Renata Toš, Borut Trekman, Marjeta Vidic, the Vidic family, Ignacij Voje, Kamila Volčanšek, Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Societies of Slovenia, Krištof Zupet and by donors who do not wish to be named.

We express our profound gratitude to all of those who, between 2011 and 2021, supplemented the Slovenian national collection of art.

Exhibition authors
Mateja Breščak, Barbara Jaki, Michel Mohor, Alenka Simončič, Andrej Smrekar

Project leader
Barbara Jaki

Catalogue editor and project coordinator
Nataša Ciber

Tina Buh, Andreja Omejc, Miha Pirnat ml., Andreja Ravnikar, Erica Sartori, Simona Škorja, Katja Tittl, Martina Vuga

Ranko Novak

Supported by
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

10 March – 29 May 2022
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana