The Modern Gallery in Zagreb holds the richest and the most important collection of Croatian art of the 19th and 20th centuries. By now, the collection, located in the Historicist Vranyczany palace in the very centre of the city, numbers thousands of works of art. The building was designed by the Viennese architect Otto Hofer, while the client, Baron Lujo Vranyczany, engaged Ferdo Kondrat as the contractor. Since the end of 19th century the building has changed ownership frequently, and has been restored several times.
From the time of its establishment the Vranyczany building welcomed extraordinary individuals in Croatian cultural, political and economic history. For example, from its balcony Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer watched the fireworks display organised in his honour by the students of Zagreb on the occasion of the opening of the gallery named after him in November 1884. The building was also once home to the Chamber of the Croatian Peasant Party, and the funeral cortege of Stjepan Radić set off for Mirogoj Cemetery from the premises. Memories of some of the celebrated moments in the history of Zagreb and Croatia are enshrined in the restored building, which is on the corner of today's Andrija Hebrang Street and Josip Juraj Strossmayer Square. But the splendid receptions and noisy parties organised by Baron Vranyczany for the nobility have been replaced by the contemplative atmosphere of the gallery.
After the last restoration in the 1990s, two storeys were converted into a contemporarily equipped gallery, where visitors can see a permanent exhibition of Croatian modern painting and sculpture. In the splendid Historicist rooms, restored in accordance with the highest international museological standards, the Modern Gallery exhibits a representative selection comprising 650 of the best works by painters, sculptors and medal makers, the display being entitled Two Hundred Years of Croatian Fine Arts (1800-2000). Among them artists are Nikola Mašić, Vlaho Bukovac, Miroslav Kraljević, Ljubo Babić, Robert Frangeš Mihanović, Ivan Meštrović, Ivo Kerdić, Frano Kršinić and contemporary masters of the paintbrush, chisel and new media and their masterpieces of landscape, figural and abstract painting, sculptural portraits and other compositions as well as conceptual and video arts, which witness to the more than two centuries of continually high achievements by Croatian art.
In addition to the permanent display, occasional exhibitions of large and significant oeuvres of local and foreign artists are also devised by the Gallery’s curators. For example, from December 2008 to March 2009, the first complete retrospective of Josip Račić's works was on display on the first floor of the gallery; Račić is one of the most important representatives of Croatian Modernist painting.
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