what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Private collections

A mixed experience at the recently re-opened National Gallery of Art here in Sofia. It had been closed for refurbishment for almost a year (still is according to its website) and, frankly, is worse than it was before – with one major room still under repair and a small and inferior exhibition of the Bulgarian classics. Only the first few paintings by Mitov, Murkvichka and Vesin stood out from the collection.
Sadly they also have a really stupid display of contemporary “art” taking up some of the restricted space. Hardly surprisingly, they could offer me no book on their permanent collection – although I was able to buy a very nicely presented book about Alexander Bozhinov which the Gallery had produced in 1999. It's amazing the number of such books about its artists which Bulgaria has produced over the years. I've built up a nice little library collection!
The saving grace was the superb temporary exhibition they have of Hungarian works from the Gabor Kovacs collection
Gábor Kovács has been purchasing works of art for fifteen years, with the intention of creating a collection that offers a worthy representation of the history of modern Hungarian painting. Covering the period from the early 18th century to the present, the collection is comprised of more than 250 masterpieces.
The collection offers an almost complete account of the development that began with the Romantic and Realistic landscape representations of the 19th century, continued with the plein air painting of the Nagybánya school (now Baie Mare in Romania) and ended with the ”isms” of the first decades of the 20th century. Continuously enlarged, the Gábor Kovács Collection is one of the most prestigious private art collections in Hungary.
János Vaszary was one artist who caught my eye.

This is the first time I have seen an exhibition of a private collector – and follows hard on my spotting a stunning new book in the Humanitas bookshop in Bucharest about Romanian art collectors. It was in Romanian – but profusely illustrated and showing that we are not alone in our walls being crammed with paintings. In trying to find reference to it online, I came across this interesting site about private art collections in central Europe which contains this useful entry on Bulgaria’s first collectors

Two more paintings were added to my own collection yesterday – another Nikolai Tiholov

and a small Toni Todorov from Vihra’s current exhibition of that artist.

That brings my collection of Bulgarian paintings to about 120 – 100 of them by known artists, the others anonymous   

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