We are starting a new series of exhibitions in the Art Pavilion in Zagreb, brought together under the common title Private Collections in a Public Institution, with the presentation of one of the most attractive private collections of Croatian painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries, put together by the well-known Croatian footballer Davor Vugrinec.
The collection of this sportsman, from Varaždin by birth, contains some of the most representative works of Croatian artists of Modernism. It starts with Nikola Mašić, the first established home grown and yet regularly trained painter. Then it takes in some of the most important representatives of what is called the Zagreb Colourful School – Mato Celestin Medović, Bela Čikoš Sesia, Ivan Tišov, Ferdo Kovačević and Oton Iveković. It goes on with select works of painters trained in Munich who brought Croatian modern art to the fullness of its expression: Miroslav Kraljević, Vladimir Becić and Oskar Herman, and goes up to the Prague Four, represented by Milivoj Uzelac, Marijan Trepše and Vilko Gecan. All of these represent just the basic line of development.
Works from the collection are regularly key exhibits at the big retrospective exhibitions mounted by the Art Pavilion, the Modern Gallery and Klovićevi dvori Gallery – the leading exhibition venues in Croatia. Since this is clearly a collection that, attentively chosen, brings together the top works of the biggest domestic fine artists, making it a private collection to compete with those in Croatian museums, the Art Pavilion in Zagreb has chosen to start this series precisely with the Vugrinec Collection.
Why are we starting up this new series of exhibitions?
Private collections are practically the most important resources in any familiarisation with artistic oeuvres, and many museum collections actually came into being because of the fervour of individuals, enthusiasts, collectors. Care and concern for private collections of artworks assembled by individuals is one of the basic forms of care for the heritage. A seldom-offered chance to encounter works kept in private premises is a chance for many lovers of art to become acquainted with inaccessible parts of the heritage.
The new programme strategy of the Art Pavilion has considerably upgraded the marketing approach of the exhibition projects. It includes innovative approaches to sponsors, carefully devised media campaigns and creative forms of publicity. International exhibitions, as well as national exhibitions presented and organised in a different way, a livelier and more vigorous relationship with the public, which ranges from the very young to the distinctly senior, all have had a considerable success and been received well in the media. The exhibitions in the Art Pavilion are covered with interest by the discipline and the general public.
The exhibition series Private Collections is aimed at a wider public and its intention is to bring into the gallery space those visitors that have not yet been among the target groups. The popularity of the footballer Davor Vugrinec and the distinctive personality of his collection are contents that seem to us ideal to bringing in a larger number of new art lovers, which ought the ultimate aim of our endeavours.
During this series, one private collection, from Croatia or abroad, will be presented every year.
Varaždin Municipal Museum – Gallery of Old and New Masters, April – May, 2015