The Art Gallery in Havlickuv Brod occupies a particular place in the network of Czech galleries, as it is the only one in the country specializing in modern Czech book illustration, drawings and graphics created after 1918.
The gallery is considered “Younger” as it was founded as late as in 1965 as a separate department of the Regional Museum in Havlickuv Brod. Initially, it took over and managed the collection of "art" of the so-called Town Gallery, including paintings and sculptures by regional artists or works related to the region, which was allocated from the museum after 1946.
By agreement reached by Department of Culture of DNC Havlickuv Brod and the department of regional galleries of the National Gallery in Prague, the Art Gallery Havlickuv Brod was granted a specialization in modern Czech book illustration, drawings and graphics created after 1918. The specialization was chosen with regard to the tradition of exhibiting experience within the East Bohemian publishers and it built also on the art competition held annually on the occasion of National festival of humour and satire Hašek’s Lipnice.
Having become specialized the gallery transferred the original collection back to the museum and started to build its own new collection sets, which thanks to targeted acquisition activities and to the given financial options now represent a comprehensive view of the artistic culture of Czech book and graphics with the exception of a few authors whose work is already closed and for the time being unreachable.
The collection now includes more than 7,000 works of art represented by leading Czech artists such as Jan Bauch, Cyril Bouda, Vladimír Boudník, Adolf Hoffmeister, Emil Filla, Ota Janecek, Jiří John, Jaroslav Hořánek, Stanislav Kolíbal, Jan Kotik, Kamil Lhoták, Jiří Načeradský, Jaroslav Panuška, Bohuslav Reynek, Václav Sivko, Zdeněk Sklenář, Antonín Strnadel, Karel Svolinský, Jaroslav Šerých, Karel Teissig, František Tichý, Jiří Trnka, Adolf Zábranský, Olbram Zoubek and Jan Zrzavý.
The first permanent exhibition in Havlickuv Brod gallery was opened on 20th July 1979 after another adaptation of the Malina’s house in the previous two years. This exhibition was dedicated to "the Classics of the Czech illustration." In 1985 it was replaced by a collection of "Modern Czech illustration"; which was replaced by the exposition of "Illustrations for children's book" in 1991, and since 1996 the exhibition has been dedicated to the authors relevant to the region. After moving into the new building in 1999, the presentation of the permanent collections was given its permanent separate areas in which the exposition called "Modern Czech Art of the 20th century" was installed. This exhibition is adjusted annually as necessary regarding the prevailing art work on paper.
Besides the presentation of its own collections in the permanent exposition and at several occasional exhibitions the Gallery Havlickuv Brod pursues other exhibition activities. Since 1965, it has represented more than 300 basic exhibitions. They were mostly solo exhibitions of leading Czech and regional artists, but it has not avoided thematic exhibitions such as “A woman in the visual arts” (8th March to 18th April 1976), “Czech painting at the turn of the 19th – 20th centuries” (2nd July to 29th August 1993) and all 14 annual editions of “Contemporary Czech illustration work” (1993–2006). From the successful solo exhibitions we can be randomly point out exhibitions from the 1960s of Frantisek Tichý, Emil Filla, Jan Zrzavý, Josef Sima; in the 1970s of Josef Lada, Jaroslav Panuška, Vojtěch Preissig; in the the 1980s of Frantisek Kavan, Joseph Kremláčka; in the 1990s of Jan Štursa Adriana Šimotová, Karel Svolinský and many others. The property of the gallery includes one unique item, which somewhat deviates from its specialization in the visual arts of the 20th century. It is the so called “Uhrovsky altar” with sculptures of Calvary by Ignaz Rohrbach (1691–1747). The high Baroque altar was created around 1735 for the Chapel of the Feast of the Cross at the castle in Uhrov. Through a purchase the gallery saved the altar for the region of Havlickuv Brod, had it restored and placed it on the first floor of its exposition.
During its existence, the gallery has undergone several statutory changes. Since its establishment, the gallery functioned as an independent department of the District Museum in Havlickuv Brod; in 1967 it was incorporated into the newly established institution called District National History Centre, which organizationally bring together three separate departments – a museum, gallery, monuments and nature protection. On 1st January 1974, the District National History Centre was divided into two separate organizations – District Museum and Gallery and District Centre of State Heritage Preservation and Nature Protection. On 1st July 1984 the above mentioned organizations were re-merged under the District National History Centre, where the gallery formed a separate unit next to the museum and conservation department, environmental protection, promotion and construction crews. During the year of 1991 the delimitation of the department of nature conservation and galleries took place which granted both these departments the legal capacity and inclusion under the respective ministries. In connection with the reorganization of state and local governments in 1st January 2001, the Art Gallery in Havlickuv Brod together with other collecting institutions has been transferred from the Ministry of Culture under the Vysocina region.
From its establishment till September 1973, the gallery had one supervisor and one specialist. In September 1973 the personnel was expanded by another specialist. In 1991, when the gallery became independent and went directly under the control of Ministry of Culture, one economist was taken on. After moving into the new building, it was strengthened by one art historian and in 2003 by a worker for leisure activities and work with schools. From 1965 to 1966 the head of the gallery was Jan Ambrož, from 1967 to August 1970 Olaf Hanel, from September 1970 to April 1992 Zdeněk Pokorný, and since April 1992 the current head Hana Nováková.
GALERIE VÝTVARNÉHO UMĚNÍ
V HAVLÍČKOVĚ BRODĚ
Havlíčkovo nám. 18
580 01 Havlíčkův Brod
tel./fax.: 569 427 035