The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
The process of creating the Museum's collections began in 1954, immediately after its foundation as the Contemporary Art Gallery.
The content of the collections corresponds to the exhibition policy of our institution. Since its very beginnings, the MSU has exhibited and acquired artworks by those Croatian and international artists who revealed intriguing and high-quality artistic aspirations, including a new or different visual language. The Museum's collections document the beginnings and the logical evolution of certain artistic tendencies, as well as their direct or indirect impact on the production that followed. At the same time, the collections witness the topicality of Croatian artistic production in particular time periods, in their relation to the parallel currents in European and global art.
Like the Collection of Sculpture and the Collection of Paintings, the Collection of Drawings, Graphics, Prints and Art on Paper includes materials since the early 20th and numbers 1,587 artworks. From the first half of the 20th century, the drawings of Miroslav Kraljević and Milan Steiner, as well as the Expressionist graphic art of Sergij Glumac are particularly noteworthy. The collection also includes some rare avant-garde publications, such as the Dadaist Die Kathedrale by Kurt Schwitters and the uncensored edition of Dada Tank.
This collection includes 456 films and videos created since the 1960s.
The Collection of Photography was developed at the Centre for Photography, Film, and Television (CEFFT), founded in the early 1970s at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The collection mainly contains photographs produced after the 1950s.
The core of this newly founded collection is constituted by early computer artworks that the MSU collected during the five international exhibitions entitled New Tendencies, which took place in the period from 1961-1973. The third exhibition of New Tendencies (1965) investigated the relationship between cybernetics and art, while the fourth (1968/69) was dedicated to information theory. In accordance with that, an international symposium on Computers and Visual Research took place in the same year, accompanied by the publication of the first issue of BIT international.
The Sculpture Collection at MSU contains 561 artworks, chronologically extending back into the first half of the 20th century. Since its foundation, the Museum has been actively involved in innovative artistic developments, through both its exhibition programmes and its acquisition strategy.
The Collection of Paintings at MSU contains more than 1200 works by Croatian and international artists, covering a broad span of time since the early 20th century. This exceptionally valuable and diversified collection has been formed gradually, often following the acquisition strategy of the Museum's predecessor, the Contemporary Art Gallery.
The Tošo Dabac Archive comprises almost 200 thousand negatives, around 2000 artistic enlargements, valuable photography equipment, Dabac's library, and a collection of newspaper clippings, all located at the former studio of the legendary Zagreb photographer. Apart from its artistic value, the archival material has an exceptional documentary significance as a testimony to the history of Zagreb and Croatia. Tošo Dabac's photographic oeuvre has been preserved in its entirety and encompasses a broad spectrum of themes: from portraits, artworks, and photographs of urban life to landscapes and folk traditions and art.
Elaborating, restructuring, forgetting, gilding, incorporating into new entities, discarding, piling up... these are only some of the artistic gestures that have appeared and alternated at 12 Medulićeva Street in the last forty some years. The space has functioned as a studio in the classic sense of the word, but you would not be mistaken to see it as a peculiar platform for continuous fluctuations of energy, or at least a repository for what remains afterward. It is far from easy to establish a chronology in this chaos, and perhaps it is not even necessary. The tendency to discard one's own past, to display a kind of negligence towards it, to resort to recycling, may reveal a resistance to the solidification of the personal myth or, alternatively, the need to consecrate everyday life.
The Silvana Seissel Donation is an art collection owned by the City of Zagreb, which was given to Museum of Contemporary Art in 1993 for management purposes: preservation, maintenance, and presentation. The Museum received paintings and architectural designs from Silvana Seissel, wife of architect, urban planner, and artist Josip Seissel, also known under the pseudonym Jo Klek, according to the artist's personal wish. The donation obtained the official status of a "Donation to the City of Zagreb" and Silvana Seissel the status of a donor.
The two-storey villa at 38 Vrhovac houses the collection of Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš Richter, a comprehensive exhibition presenting the oeuvre of one of the most prominent Croatian artists from the 1950s and 1960s. Vjenceslav Richter and his wife, Nada Kareš Richter, donated their artworks and their family house to the city of Zagreb in 1980, with the intention of promoting research on Constructivist art and providing a place for young artists to meet, but also in order to improve cultural affairs outside the centre of Zagreb.
Private art collector Benko Horvat (1875-1955) from Zagreb donated his collection to the city in 1946 and it has been managed by the Museum of Contemporary Art ever since. The collection includes 611 items, most of them archaeological finds (metal objects, glass, gemmas, and small ancient sculpture), while a minor section contains paintings and graphic art dating back to the 15th-18th centuries.
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