Tatranská galéria, Poprad, Slovakia

Tatra Gallery in Poprad as a collection institution was established in 1960. It seats and realizes its activities at unique areas of former steam power plant, cultural sight. It processes and depicts for public creation of artists of wider east slovak region as well as arts of slovak research, expositional and education activity. By its activities is tries systematically to enrich entire information on traditional and modern tendencies at the arts. Tatra Gallery attracted attention of cultural public by large expositional multimedia projects and events at Elektráreň TG, which are held in compliance with latest art tendencies in the world. It cooperates with many foreign galleries and institutions even at the area of modern dance, music, film and theatre.

The Tatra Gallery originated from the reconstruction of the old power plant and is therefore also an important technical monument. Today it offers chamber exhibitions, exhibition projects, video presentations, conferences, creative workshops, art symposia, concerts, theater and dance performances.

The region boasts an exceptionally rich collection of monuments of medieval architecture, wooden sculpture and wall and painting paintings. Architectural monuments are an appealing magnet of tourism. If we add to this the extraordinary beauty of natural wealth, it is quite natural that it attracted the region and created the arts-based souls. In the period of late Classicism, Spiš creates a new painting tradition. It is spoken – Spiš painting school. She gave the foundation of a later Slovak art school, which focused on ideas of national revival. Spis’ painting school was developed by a painter of Danish origin, Ján Jakub Stunder, known for his portrait classicist work, later with a tendency to romanticism. Spiš painters such as Jozef Czauczik, Teodor Boem, Ján Jakub Müller, Titus Szent-Istványi and Karol Tibéla also cultivated landscaping in addition to the portrait. In the first half of the 19th century, the Spiš painting circuit became the leading art center in the territory of today’s Slovakia. However, many of the artists, besides painting, devoted themselves to their civic profession. Artists with higher ambitions went to the world. In the second half of the 19th century, Ladislav Medňanský, Ferdinand Katona, Andrej Bača and others decided to go to the center of Hungary, Budapest. However, the contact with the Spiš landscape did not disappear, as evidenced by their numerous landscaping with the ideas of Tatra Nature.

Although the Tatras and the region beneath them became a rich inspirational source of artists at the end of the 19th century, even at the beginning of the next, works of fine arts did not become a source of interest in systematic collec- tive activity. The Tatra Museum in the Great (founded in 1882) and the Museum of the Carpathian Society in Poprad (founded in 1886) concentrated mainly on natural objects in their collections. The works of art have grown randomly. After the Second World War, the two museums were merged and the Tatra Museum was established (since 1961 the Museum of the Tatra Museum). In 1957, collections were set up, linking the High Tatras to the foundations of the Tanap Museum. Among them was a collection of drawings, graphics and paintings, which is important for learning the origins of the Tatra landscape landscape. Valuable are especially the Tatier panoramas from Juraj Buchholz from the early 18th century, the illustration of the oldest Tatra travel books from the late 18th century or the gouache panorama of Anton Schweitzer.

The first professional painters who settled permanently in the Tatras region in the early 20th century were Jozef Hanula (Spišská Nová Ves) and Andor Borúth (in Tatranská Polianka). In the period between the two wars Karol Šovánka settled in Kežmarok, the Czech painter Jan Hála in the Vaze, Otakar Štáfl chose his home of the High Tatras. Tatras as a motive begin to penetrate the creation of an increasing number of fine artists.

The Tatra Gallery was founded in 1960 and its first residence was Starý Smokovec. After several places of operation she settled definitively in Poprad.

Presently, he is presenting himself in the former steam power station on Hviezdoslavova Street, but also in other cultural institutions in the sub-Tatar region.

Through his acquisition, scientific research and exhibition activities he works and the public draws on the work of artists Spiš and the wider East Slovak region, important personalities of Slovak art.

In addition to a stronger public opinion, local officials also took the thoughts in the Tatier region. In 1951 KNV funds in Košice were purchased the first artwork for the future gallery. In January 1953, the National Committee in the Tatra Mountains decided to take the Alica Smokovec Villa from the Tourist Office to its own administration. After general overhaul it was to serve as a picture gallery. At that time, the High Tatras architect Vladimir Jandejsek also worked out a project study of the Tatier Museum building with a permanent gallery. The project on the building of the gallery was done by Ing. These ideas were never realized. The Tatra National Committee even commissioned a separate commission to prepare the gallery. The meeting was attended by Jozef Majkut, Vojtech Mensatoris, Frantisek Siska, Jozef Zapatik and Robert Lazar. The National Committee also allocated funding for the purchase of works of art that would form the basis of the collection of the future gallery. The first exhibition at Villa Alica in Starý Smokovec was already under the banner of the Tatra Gallery and took place on July 16, 1959. Jaroslav Votruba exhibited his works. The official opening of the gallery is a bit later: May 13, 1960.

The Tatra Gallery was established by the Resolution of the MsNV Council in Starý Smokovec no. 72/1960 but, above all, on the initiative of domestic art enthusiasts, she has been baffling from the beginning. While in the years 1951-1959 artworks were added to the collections of the future gallery (113), the National Committee was no longer so generous. Collective activity in the first decade of the official work of the gallery has been as though it has been falling asleep, characterized by considerable inequality. The money to buy the collections was minimal; the work of the gallery for seven years was provided by only one person who was in charge of the work of the Osvetova beseda. Not even the location of the gallery in a wooden building eventually proved to be the most sensible idea – tight spaces and security risks threatened the development of a new institution from the outset. The joy of its creation did not last long – dreams of the painting were filled, but somehow half. The attitude of an official ministry to the needs of the gallery was fully demonstrated in 1966 when the Commission for the Preparation of the World Ski Championships gave the redening institution a red light. The gallery had to empty the premises of Villa Alice, the building needed a skiing championship committee. Instead of looking for a suitable spatial solution for their artistic institutions, Tatrans are satisfied with a temporary replacement. These troubles and the search for an adequate roof overhead, as if the Tatra Galleries were destined for fate. For years, space has become a major problem.

In 1966 the Tatra Gallery left Stary Smokovec and moved to Poprad. Its temporary seat is located on the second floor of the Tatra cinema in Poprad. The artistic collections are waiting for a special fate – part of it will be deposited in a school workshop in Vyšné Hágy, part of the gallery will lend to the Tatra’s rest homes, hotels and institutions. Obviously, after years, it was a problem to get some works back to gallery collections. The change of the seat also required the change of the founder, the gallery went under the control of the ONV in Poprad, got a new director and a new statute, became a district institution and reached the level of other regional galleries in Slovakia. The gallery – originally a rhythm of the Tatra’s focus – prepares exhibitions in the Tatran cinema building and moves its activities to traveling exhibitions.

The Tatra Gallery brought some relief and better times up to 70 years. In 1972, the gallery was rented in the magnificent pavilion in Horní Smokovec. The first exhibition is organized there in March 1973. In the Upper Smokovec gallery also moves its work and collections, and continues to work in Poprad. The era of systematic work begins. The new statute identified the gallery as two basic areas of activity – research-collectible and cultural-educational. She has been recruited by specialists, and finally, new paintings are being added to collections. The building in the Upper Smokovec Gallery provided a truly dignified and generous exhibition space, but the workplaces and the depository did not stay much. The collections had to travel to Poprad-Spišská Sobota. Even the exhibition did not have its own space, the systematic cultural-educational activity (lectures, discussions, competitions) also had no gallery where to realize it. Missing her own car to transport exhibitions. A regional gallery survey also confirmed that the Tatra Gallery lagged behind others in finance, technical, spatial and personal equipment. No one doubted its worth, the exceptionally exposed location in a touristy attractive region with rich collections of cultural and historical monuments gave the gallery an attractive touch, but none of its problems could be tackled by anyone. The Gallery Management has developed the Concept of Spatial Options Concept. All the possible motives were dealt with, but the result was only the finding that the conditions of the gallery did not really meet the requirements of the current gallery practice. The most painful problem – premises – has remained unresolved for many decades. Once again, the temporary gallery provizorias have been added to the gallery: the gallery has been put into operation in Spišská Sobota as a depository; in the reconstructed Villa Flora in Smokovec it was able to install the exhibition of its own collections Tatier in painting, and finally in 1984 acquired an older family house in Poprad (on today’s Alžbetinej street ) as headquarters of headquarters and professional offices. Again this was not an ideal solution, but it temporarily helped. The initiative to build its own independent space to cover all needs and gallery activities did not stop. However, its final fulfillment occurred a lot later.

An important asset for the gallery in the 1970s was systematic acquisition activity. There were 636 works, the most valuable of which are the works of the founders of the Slovak modern Gustave Mallý, Miloš Alexandr Bazovský, Janka Alexy, but also the Tatra compositions of Czech painter Antonín Hudeček. From the regional art are interesting copies of bronze reliefs from the base of the statue of St. Ján Nepomucký at the Charles Bridge in Prague from Spišskosobotský native Ján Brokoff, as well as the works of Ladislav Medňanský, Ferdinand Katon, Ernest Rákosi and Ján Hál. The increasing tendency of the acquisition activity continued in the 1980s, although 882 works of art were added to the collections, mainly thanks to the increase in drawings and graphic sheets. They were the works of regional artists – Ladislav Medňanský, Andorra Borútha, Eugen Wallachy, Ernest Szepesi-Kuszka, Viktor Kissa, interesting feature is a large set of early drawings by Ferdinand Katon found at the roof of a building in Poprad Square and a donated gallery. In addition to works by regional artists, such as Ján Kollár, Jaroslav Vortuba, drawings of Jozef Olex and drawings by Jaroslav Lukavsky, the collection of art with Tatra themes was added. The regional collection was also registered by local artists Spiš Vladimír Popovič, Emil Sedlák, Mária Rudavská, Viliam Pirchala and others. It has been systematically supplemented with a collection of East Slavonic art, in which today none of the most significant authors are missing.

The exhibition hall on the second floor of the Poprad cinema Tatran operated 23 years – from December 1967 to the end of November 1990. At that time, 220 exhibitions took place, but the quantity did not exceed the quality. Among the positives of the exhibition program are the retrospectives of Ladislav Medňanský (1972), Eugen Króna (1972), Jozef Hanul (1988), Teodor Mousson (1987), Julius Jakoby (1990) and exhibitions representing significant, sometimes beginning people in contemporary art; Július Koller (1967), Ernest Zmeták (1968), Jozef Kornácik (1968) and others. The Poprad showroom was the venue of an exhibition debut or one of the first exhibitions of several young Spiš artists after returning from college studies (Eva Melkovičová, Jana Kyselová, Márián Jurek, Viliam Pirchala, Peter Pollag, Franz Zajac).

The socio-political changes after 1989 brought the Tatra Gallery a great deal of news. Not always at first glance pleasant. As has been a direct tradition for this institution – once again the main source of the problem has become space. The gallery in April 1990 gets a discharge from the Tatran cinema, so its exhibition room has to be canceled in Poprad. But the gallery’s galleries and admirers of art in the region do not stand with their hands. Seeking opportunities, convincing, arguing and fighting for adequate exhibition space. But it’s a long-distance run. For three years, the gallery has gained space over the former part of the work, under the pretense of reconstruction, it receives a notice. The dismissal is also gathered from the pavilion in Horní Smokovec. The gallery thus remains without exposure in the High Tatras. An attempt to establish a gallery in Kežmarok ended similarly – the exhibition hall in the building on MUDr. Alexandra, which belongs to the Kežmarok Museum, operated from November 1990 until October 1992.

In 1992 he acquired the gallery from the city of Poprad into a long-term lease of the former steam power plant in Poprad. The building, which is almost reminiscent of ruins, soon thanks to the efforts of gallery workers is at least a temporary place of unique art events. The power plant is literally transformed into an “art factory”. Going beyond the framework of a regional institution, it organizes national and international exhibitions in raw industrial premises with transitions to non-traditional cultural activities. In May 1993, the first exhibition was opened – a generous project called Northern England in Northern Slovakia. It covers workshops and international exhibitions that immediately raise the credit of the Tatra Gallery and radiate it among progressive art institutions in Slovakia. The gallery is getting cveng in the world as well. It was created in 1996 by the specialized House of Photography (later in 2002 he became independent and nowadays resides in Liptovsky Mikulas).

In 1997, TG found itself in a situation where it did not have a year to present the results of its activities. The object in Starý Smokovec came after almost 20 successful years. The Power Plant building (acquired by TG in 1993) was interesting, but in an emergency and used only 5 months of the year. The exhibition hall of the newly-opened House of Photography of the Tatra Gallery was specially dedicated to photography and charged TG with high rent. The promised premises at the Tatran cinema did not come out, so TG started sponsoring and, at its own expense, edited the former office space in its premises into a smaller exhibition area (exhibition area of ​​about 100 m2). The concept of the new exhibition hall was to present the public to the personality of Slovak fine arts, regional artists, foreign authors, as well as various artistic genres. In 10 years of exhibition activity in these rooms the Tatra Gallery opened 73 exhibitions, which were visited by 28120 visitors. He presented personalities of classical Slovak fine arts (Martin Benka, Miloš Alexander Bazovský, Mikuláš Galanda, Imro Weiner Kráľ, Janko Alexy, Ladislav Medňánek, Ferdinand Katona, Zolo Palugyay, Maria Medvecká, Dezider Milly, Teodor J. Mousson) (Vladimír Popovič, Ester Šimerová-Martinčeková, Milan Paštéka, Ondrej Zimka, Dušan Pončák, Daniel Brunovský, Peter Roller), regional artists (Imrich Svitana, Štefan Hudzík, Michal Trembáč, Anna Fedáková, Marián Čižmárik, Ondrej Ivan) and design (Anton Cepka, Eva Fišerová, Karol Weisslechner, Martina Mináriková, Stefany Klemp, Bety Majerníková) and many others. TG has worked with dozens of cultural institutions in Slovakia and abroad (GMB Bratislava, SNG Bratislava, SNM Bratislava, GMAB Trenčín, GPMB Liptovský Mikuláš, ŠG Prešov, OG Dolný Kubín, Museum and gallery in Lučenec, PG Žilina, TG Martin, Podtatranské múzeum v Poprade, Galeria Jatki Nowy Targ and others). However, it is necessary to add to the statistics that this chamber space has become a favorite place for many lovers of art as well as musical, theatrical, literary from Poprad and the surrounding area.

The new founder of the gallery became in 2002 Prešovský samosprávny kraj. There is a period of relative stabilization of the institution. In 2004, the gallery returns to the High Tatras from the city for a symbolic crown, and later the Euro gets to rent Vil Flóra, where it can conceive its exhibitions mainly with the theme of Tatier, Mountains and Landscapes. Visitors return to exhibitions in Tatier.

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