The Town Picture Gallery

The Town Picture Gallery is currently closed due to the reconstruction of the castle. You can read about its history, which is inherently linked to the existence of the Litomyšl Town Gallery, in the following text. The Litomyšl Town Gallery has a history of almost a century, during which it has changed its founder and its headquarters several times. The Town PIcture Gallery located in the castle was its first exhibition hall.

History of the Town Picture Gallery

The Town Gallery was founded in Litomyšl on 25. June 1925 under the auspices of the Litomyšl Educational Society. The following year, the gallery’s exhibition space was inaugurated on the first floor of the Litomyšl castle, which was provided free of charge by the then owner of the castle, Albert Prince Thurn-Taxis. The town picture gallery was located in three rooms in the castle and was divided into the Julius Mařák Hall, the Antonín Dvořák Hall and the Viktor Faltis Hall. It exhibited works by Antonín Dvořák, Viktor Faltis and Julius Mařák, which were loaned to the town of Litomyšl by the Albert siblings (descendants of Viktor Faltis), as well as other loans from private collectors and the town museum. This convolute of original works formed the core of the gradually growing collection, which the municipal gallery still manages today.

At 30. years, the gallery developed quite rapidly. In 1939, the City Picture Gallery already occupied the area of ten chateau rooms; it was enriched with, among other things. the Max Švabinský Hall, Josef Voleský Hall and the Hall of Contemporary Czech Art.
The first administrator of the gallery, which was under the auspices of the Litomyšl Education Council, was a teacher and town councillor Václav Drbohlav, who held this position until 1937. Under his leadership, the gallery’s collection grew to include not only works by local artists, but also works by leading Czech modern artists – František Tichý, Otakar Kubín, Jan Zrzavý and others. In 1937, the post of gallery administrator was awarded to MUDr. František Lašek, who continued Drbohlav’s acquisition and exhibition concept. However, as mayor of the town he could afford larger investments. F. Lašek also established an advisory board of the gallery, the so-called. curatorium and was engaged in the contemplation of building a separate gallery building, which his predecessor had already dreamt of.

A turning point in the gallery’s activity was brought by the 2. World War II. The town picture gallery had to be deinstalled and stored partly in the local museum and partly in the oratory of the Piarist college. The Picture Gallery did not return to the castle premises again until 1947, when it was located in 2. upstairs.

Even the post-war years did not favour further development of the gallery. At the beginning of 1961 the gallery was connected with the museum in an institution called the Museum and Gallery of Homeland History in Litomyšl. The gallery ceased to exist as an independent institution with its own collection. The operation of the Municipal Picture Gallery in the chateau continued, but the picture gallery was closed during the 1960s. a 70. years, it was forced to give way to a new ideological concept of the Litomyšl castle, first to an exposition on the life and work of Zdeněk Nejedlý, then to the Museum of Czech Music.
In the meantime, in 1965, the gallery and the exhibition in the castle came under the Regional Centre for State Heritage Protection in Pardubice, which promised to open a picture gallery in the castle focused on the art of the 19th century. century in a form that would restore the painting to its “original dignity and glory”. This idea, however, did not find fulfilment and the bulk of the art collection, which had been stored in inadequate conditions in previous years, was deposited in one of the castle rooms.

Since 1976, the collection of fine arts fell under the Municipal Museum in Litomyšl and the gallery fund merged with the museum collection. In 1977, the museum’s art collection was enriched by a gift from Anna Matičková, who donated a collection of his paintings and a collection of paintings of Czech modern art to the museum at the request of her husband Josef Matička. Since its donation was conditional on the establishment of the Josef Matička Gallery, the town undertook an extensive reconstruction of the U Rytířů house between 1975 and 1977, where the permanent exhibition of Josef Matička was then displayed until 1986. Afterwards, the museum held short-term exhibitions devoted to fine arts.
After 1989, hopes for the reopening of the town picture gallery in the premises of the Litomyšl castle were revived. In 1994, the 2. the first floor of the Litomyšl Chateau was reopened as an exhibition space for short-term exhibitions. The newly created exhibition of the Municipal Picture Gallery, for which the town of Litomyšl acquired new acquisitions by Václav Boštík, Stanislav Podhrázský, Bohdan Kopecký, Ludmila Jandová and other artists, was opened to the public in 2000. Shortly thereafter, in 2004, the Museum and Gallery of National History in Litomyšl was divided into two separate institutions – the Litomyšl Regional Museum and the Litomyšl City Gallery.

After forty years, the Litomyšl Municipal Gallery became independent, became a contributory organization with its headquarters in the U Rytířů house and manages its own fund of fine art.