Prague – Summer 2018! Veletržní palác: A Národní Galerie Dream…

Getting ready to enter the National Gallery of Prague in 2018.
About to enter a repurposed Cold War relic…

This sums up an incredible building filled with art, and nearly devoid of people: “At the time of its construction, the Fair Trade Palace (completed in 1928), was the largest building of its kind in the world…and the first Functionalist building in Prague. Today it serves the needs of the National Gallery. A unique collection of Czech and international modern and contemporary art, it includes some extremely valuable examples of French and European art, including important works by such illustrious names as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and many more”.

Statues in the Prague National Gallery.
Few people were visiting the National Gallery in Prague the day my family was there.
A rare human sighting…my daughter.
Giving a sense of the enormous scale of the Fair Trade Palace, now the home to the National Gallery in Prague.
The massive scale of the building on view. This is a tip of the iceberg.

The final few weeks of “on the wall viewing” (on extended loan) of Gustav Klimt’s “The Maiden” (1913) was a rare treat. If this stunning and seminal masterwork was on display in New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, or most other major cities, you’d have to fight the crowds and selfie-taking amusement park museum visitors to take a frantic peek. Not the case on this day, as I shared an hour with the work, while a few other viewers drifted by to take a peek, and studied it with a level of calm and intimacy that is rarely found these days. It was one of the true highlights of my museum going “career” !

Young man viewing Gustav Klimt's painting "The Maiden".
My eldest enjoys a moment with The Maiden.
Detail of Klimt's painting "The Maiden".
To dream, to dream…

The “regular” permanent collection is rather outstanding, and my immersion in the art of Czech born artists (1800-2000) was eye opening. Outstanding quality without the – to this viewer, anyways – name recognition and international reputations. Refreshing!

Visiting this museum “on the other side of the river” in Prague was a revelation. And the unhurried family luncheon in the nearly empty museum cafe and coffee shop was both inexpensive and absolutely delicious! The stunning views on the walk back to our AirBnB in Old Jewish Quarter (Josefov) were the cherry on top of a very yummy treat!

Published by Caldwell Gallery Hudson

Jay Caldwell is principal of Caldwell Gallery Hudson. He brings 35 years experience to the art of dealing fine art.

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