The Tatranská galéria / Tatra Gallery, which during its 50 years has at times struggled to find an appropriate permanent space, is now making the most of its home in the reconstructed building of a former steam power plant at Hviezdoslavova 12 in Poprad. On January 26, it opened its first permanent exhibition, Odkryté hodnoty / Uncovered Values, curated by Anna Ondrušeková.
Out of the 2,300 works of art the gallery has collected over its first half-century, Ondrušeková picked 115 and divided them into five thematic sets: art with Tatra motifs, works by artists from the Spiš region, works by current artists from eastern Slovakia, Slovak art since 1900, and a general category for current Slovak and foreign artists.
Of the 115 artworks, 65 are oil paintings, 15 drawings, 24 graphic works and 11 plastic. Some of the Tatra-themed works were created by artists who first came up with the idea of founding a ‘Tatra Gallery’, like Jaroslav Votruba, Otakar Štáfl and Ján Hála, plus Czech artists like Ferdinand Engelmüller, Antonín Hudeček, Bohumil Kozina and Ľudmila Hynková.
The second part shows mainly the works of Slovak modernists, including Martin Benka, Mikuláš Alexander Bazovský, Gustáv Malý, Janko Alexy, Anton Jasusch and Peter Július Kern. The oldest items in the gallery’s collection include Four Seasons, by an anonymous artist from the end of the 18th century, a gouache by Karol Tibély from 1834, a series of lithographs by Rudolf Alt from the 1860s, and works by Ferdinand Katona.
A smaller selection shows local authors currently creating in and around Poprad, for instance Michal Trembáč, Ondrej Ivan, Marián Čižmárik and Anna Fedáková. Several Slovak artists hail from the Spiš region, and this group is richly represented in the gallery’s collection. They include Peter Pollág, Emil Sedlák, Mária Rudavská and Andrej Rudavský.
The collection of graphic artworks combines both modern and older pieces, including some by Ladislav Medňanský, Max Kurth, plus older works by Ľudovít Fulla, Alexandr Eckerdt, Albín Brunovský, Igor Rumanský and Jozef Haščák.
The last part of the exhibition is a conceptual culmination of the collection: returning back to the initial motif of the Tatras, it opens the exhibition space to the current artistic expression of modern painters like Július Jakoby, Ernest Spitz, Július Koller, Dušan Srvátka, Vladimír Popovič and others.
Although this is the Tatra Gallery’s first permanent exhibition its authors say they want to continue uncovering and presenting the artistic legacy and wealth of the gallery’s collection.