First Slovak Investment Group´s collection
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Name of collection
- First Slovak Investment Group´s collection, Bratislava
Provenance and cultural activities
The First Slovak Investment Group was one of the first independent (non-state) firms to collect art after the Velvet Revolution 1989. The concept behind the Collection of the First Slovak Investment Group is to represent contemporary art and place it in the context of Central European art in the 20thcentury. The 1960s was a period of great artistic production in Slovakia, and works from this time were at a comparable level to contemporaneous works in other parts of Europe. Many artists in the 1970s and 1980s worked outside the official art scene and created so-called “unofficial” works which were separate from the official doctrine of socialist realism; these works consciously embodied the artistic freedom that was limited during the period of normalization.
The First Slovak Investment Group´s collection was established with the aim to support fine art through the acquisition of works directly from artists´ studios. Art historian Zuzana Bartošová, appointed as a curator in 1993, developed this idea, which was approved by the owner. The collection contains works by artists born or living and working in Slovakia in the 20th century; it focuses on works by artists responding to current European trends in the period of the relatively free 1960s, many of whom constituted an unofficial Slovak art scene in the period of so-called “normalization” in the 1970s. In the 1970s and 1980s they were joined by younger artists who, rejecting the doctrine of socialist realism, created works only in their spare time in the privacy of their studios.
The collection was established with the intention to strengthen the position of artists who rejected the ideological pressures resulting from restricted artistic freedom during the period of normalisation in Czechoslovakia, and it emphasised the artistic value of their works. The collected works represent significant contributions by Slovak artists to the art of the second half of the 20thcentury, and they are also important in the broader European context.
Today the collection is used for studying the work of artists representing the unofficial Slovak art scene in the period of so-called normalisation; it is presented in exhibitions at major European art galleries and museums and in accompanying publications; the reproductions of works from the collections can also be seen in various studies by experts around the world.
Description of content
The collection contains about 500 works of art including drawings and prints. Around 70 percent are works by artists of the unofficial Slovak art scene in the 1970s and 1980s, and the remaining 30 percent are works made by the same artists before or after this period, that is, during the liberal Sixties or after the Velvet Revolution (1989). The collection also includes some works by well-established Slovak inter-war painters. With approximately 30 works, the sculpture collection is rather small. The number of collection items is in flux, and occasionally increases by new acquisitions.
The collection acts as a counterbalance to “official” Slovak fine art of the 1970s and 1980s; it is can be seen as evidence of the possibility of free creativity in the period of total government control during normalisation.
- paintings: 100-499
- sculptures: 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
- Bartošová, Zuzana. Zeitgenössiche slowakische Kunst, in Passau, der Ersten slowakischen Investitionsgruppe ag. Bratislava: Prvá slovenská investičná skupina, 2001.
Author(s) of this page
Bartošová, Zuzana , interview by Stýblová, Magdaléna, May 02, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection