The 19th Century Art Collection contains paintings and plastic works of art and works on paper. It currently comprises approximately 5,400 items. The artists active in the 19th century on our territory are represented with an emphasis on the domestic scene. The works of European masters are also found here.
The first works of the collection of 19th century art were acquired by Karol Vaculík, the first director of the SNG. He concentrated on artists who in course of the 19th century lived on the territory of present day Slovakia and the category “Slovak” was of the highest importance. As a result, Ladislav Mednyánszky is mentioned in our art history as a painter of “Slovak” landscape, while Pál Szinyei-Merse is not.
During the period of socialism, works of the 19th century were considered “harmless” and acquisition activities focused on landscapes and genre paintings. In 1972, after the death of Baroness Margit Czóbelová, the SNG acquired the Mednyánszky chateau in Strážky. These activities subsequently focused on the acquisition of the works of Mednyánszky and in 1990 a permanent exposition was opened on the premises of his family seat.
Danica Zmetáková succeeded Vaculík as the head of the of the 19th century collection. She devoted special attention to the drawing and graphic art collection and prepared several related exhibitions (L. Mednyánszky, K. Ľ. Libay and others). In 2000, Katarína Beňová became the head of this collection and the acquisitions depend on the offers on the art market. Several collectors have shown an interest in this period and thus works of a gallery nature often end up in private collections. In spite of this, over the past decade we have succeeded in acquiring the works of Klemens, Kutlík, Klimkovics and other artists along with the extensive collection of the works of Mednyánszky.
Curator of the 19th Century Art Collection: Katarína Beňová