Linhart Foundation Art Collection

The inception of the Linhart Foundation´s involvement in art exhibition projects dates back to the years of revolutionary tumult when the undergrowth of underground culture of the time began to hatch inititally spontaneous and dynamic manifestations of a vigorous new generation of artists then (in the 1980s, when many of them were still students at communist-controlled art schools) entering the art scene. As eyewitnesses of and direct participants in the postrevolutionary developments, more than a few of them eventually became the Czech art scene´s moving spirits. Today most of these artists are represented by their works in the Linhart Foundation art collection. Thereby, they enable this institution to pay back in kind the debt it owes them from the time they did not spare their efforts and their enthusiasm in making possible the Foundation´s coming into existence.

The Linhart Foundation art collection was set up in 1990, simultaneously with the first major collective exhibition of its associated artists, entitled The Czech Alternative. Today the collection owns works by two generations of artists, including Alena Beldová, Jiří Belda, Jiří David, Denise Davis, Renata Drahotová, Gábina Fárová, Jan Franek, Kurt Gebauer, Laco Garaj, Roman Havelský, Petr Králík, Petr Kavan, Petr Kubín, Tomáš Hatle, Libor Krejcar, Vladimír Kokolia, Richard Konvička, Martin Kuča, Tomáš Kudela, Martin Mainer, František Matějka, Katherine Ella Marsch, Jaroslav Mayer, Stefan Milkov, Karolina “Kajda” Mitášová, Boleslav Neuberg, Pavel Novák, Otto Placht, Bella Prelata, Martina Riedelbauchová, Gail Sagman, David Saudek, František Skála, Joska Skalník, Tono Stano, Shane Stevens, Antonín Střížek, Zdeněk “Fáňa” Svoboda, “Sysel”, Kateřina Štenclová, Margita Titlová-Ylovsky, Petr Tůma, Stanislav Tůma, Petr Vaněček, Vincent Venera, Lenka Zvěřinová, and others.

Somewhat ironically, the collection also contains a bronze sculpture by Josef Malejovský (1914 – 2003), a prominent communist artist and winner of several Klement Gottwald State Prize awards, recipient of the February Victory Order and many more communist state distinctions.

In its ambition to chart the Czech art scene of the first decade of the 21st century, the collection has been able to highlight artworks which, while being still fresh and as such exert visible influence on the current developments on the art scene, have also to a certain degree already withstood the test of time. Artists represented in the collection, working in a wide variety of materials and media, include more than a few internationally renowned names: Josef Bolf, Filip Černý, Igor Grimmich, Jakub Janovský, Krištof Kintera, Ivana Lomová, František Matoušek, Agáta Mayerová, Matěj Olmer, Petr Písařík, Pavel Příkaský, Michael Rittstein, Adam Stanko, Helena Sequens, Jana Šárová, Jan Šerých, Michal Škapa or Mirka Vitásková are some of them.

A definite degree of formative influence on the collection´s character has been due to the successive curators working for Galerie NoD, including internationally respected artists and art historians such as Krištof Kintera, René Rohan, Tamara Moyzes, Zuzana Blochová, Petr Krůša, Darina Alster, Milan Mikuláštík, Jiří Ptáček, and most recently the gallery´s current curator, Jiří Machalický.

Turbulent though they may in general be, our times have at the same time proven to be auspicious for the comparative robust health of the visual and experimental art scene. The context of contemporary Czech art is being shaped and enriched by the work of a considerable number of distinctive members of the generation of artists currently in their thirties and early forties. The “growth-oriented strategy” of this country´s economy has been making possible the creation of favourable material conditions for their creative work (hence also the current tendency, by no means accidental, of many young artists towards an output of large-scale canvases), with more than a few young artists making their ways to the international gallery circuit and gaining points at international art fairs; thanks also to the fast-growing online marketing sector, their works are ever more frequently listed for sales by leading auction houses, and the publication of voluminous catalogues or monographs is today no longer the privilege of “merited artists.” Hopefully therefore, a strong group of artists is thus now taking shape who do have the chance (regardless of the purely economic markers of welfare) “once again to bring across a truly meaningful message.”

The Linhart Foundation, alongside Galerie NoD, wishes to be involved in the articulation of these newly emerging standpoints guided by the aspiration to preserve the continuity of a democratic, tolerant and free society. Financial support provided to artists whose works will be newly acquired for the Linhart Foundation art collection is only one tool of many in our endeavours to contribute to the peservation of this continuity. Beyond that, the Foundation aspires to enshrine its spiritual and moral support for artists in the formulations of the collection´s evolving future concept which (taking into full account the various artists´ stylistic diversity) is expected to vouchsafe its continuation as a major platform for dialogue on social issues and matters of art alike.

Pavel Kubesa, Jiří Machalický