Poster and Graphic Design Collection of the Slovak National Gallery
The collection Poster and Graphic Design of the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) was established in 1962 through the acquisition of a collection of posters and other graphic works from the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague. Although this collection was not created primarily to preserve oppositional art, it provides an excellent overview of official Slovak posters and graphic works, many of which have oppositional content. Such content can be seen especially in works produced after 1968 or in the work of artists who were persecuted after 1968. The collection today contains more than 3000 items, and it is being added to every year.
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Name of collection
- Collection Architecture, Applied Art, and Design: Poster and Graphic Design
Provenance and cultural activities
The Slovak National Gallery (SNG) was founded in 1948 as the state-owned art-historical, scientific, and cultural-educational institution focussing on collecting artworks. As a state institution during the socialist era, it was directed to exhibit the official state-supported art scene, and its ability to present oppositional, unofficial art was almost nonexistent. Nevertheless, today, in its acquisitions, it is possible to find artistic works expressing dissatisfaction with the regime, especially after 1968, as well as artworks by authors who were not allowed to be artistically active during the 1970s and 1980s. Since 1991 the SNG has included, among other artworks, these works in numerous exhibitions focusing on the art of socialism, with the aim of sparking a social debate about coping with the past.
The Poster and Graphic Design Collection originated in 1962 as "promotional applied graphic art" when the SNG took over the collection of posters from the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. Later, other posters were transferred from the SNG Department of Graphic Art and the Pravda publishing house. The collection was continuously built in a similar way until the end of the 1960s. Thus the collection of posters of a qualitatively different level by Slovak and Czech artists dating back to the beginning of the century was constituted. By the end of the 1960s, the selection method for building the collection was implemented when acquisitions from other fields of applied graphic art began to appear sporadically. Notwithstanding these efforts, the collection as a whole remains a collection of the posters of the 1960s. The 1960s are represented by the following artists who strove to continue the current world trends in typography by composing in the area of drawing and painting and through photography. By the end of the 1970s, the generation of 1948, which affected the development of Slovak poster work by its distinctive typography, enters the scene.
The relatively extensive collection of political posters is of varying quality. The collection focussed on acquisitions of subsequent artists in the course of the 1970s and 1980s.
The collection Poster and Graphic Design is often exhibited. It was shown recently at Liquid Muse (2015), Julius Koller (2015), and DELETE (2012). The SNG also lends its acquisitions to other Slovak or foreign exhibitions, such as Jana Želibská at La Biennale di Venezia (2017).
Description of content
The collection contains a great overview of Slovak poster and graphic design from throughout the 20th century. The strongest representation has interwar, especially Czech, authors (Stanislav Kolíbal, Ladislav Sutnar, Milan Hegar, Alfons Mucha). The 1960s are represented by the following artists who strove to continue the current world trends in typography by composing in the area of drawing and painting and through photography: Alojz Riškovič, Čestmír Pechr, Jozef Turzo, Andrej Barčík, Ivan Štěpán, Milan Veselý, Marian Čunderlík, Peter Mandzjuk, Ján Meisner, Rudolf Altrichter, Zoltán Salamon. One of the most striking artists among these was Marián Čunderlík. Čunderlík studied from 1946 at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava (under prof. J. Mudroch), and during 1948-1953 at the College of Fine Arts in the Department of Monumental Painting (under prof. Ľ. Fulla, and prof. J. Želibský). During 1953-1955 he was intersted in political caricature and applied graphics. In 1957, together with E. Špitz, he was one of the founders of Gallery of Cyprián Majerník in Bratislava. The first exhibition of Čunderlík was held in this gallery in 1958 but was closed only a few hours after the vernissage for political reasons. In the 1960s he was active and exhibited his artworks quite often, but after his expulsion from the Union of Slovak Fine Artists in 1972 he left Bratislava and moved to Demänovská Valley and the village Tri studničky, where he died under tragic circumstances on 1 October 1983. Although his work has been neglected since the 1970s, he is among the most important artists that were active in the 1960s.
By the end of the 1970s, the generation of 1948, which affected the development of Slovak poster work by its distinctive typography, enters the scene. Artists such as Ľubomír Longauer, Vladislav Rostoka, Pavol Choma, Jozef Dóka Junior, Svetozár Mydlo, Tomáš Berka, and Dušan Junek are represented here. The relatively extensive collection of political posters is of varying quality. The collection was oriented to acquisitions of the following artists in the course of the 1970s and 1980s: Jozef Chovan, Oto Lupták, Štefan Bednár, Ľudovít Ilečko, Milan Spál, Štefan Štefka, Ladislav Čisárik.
- applied arts objects (folk art, decorative arts, etc.): 1000-
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
- completely open to the public
- For every exhibition held in SNG there is one catalogue printed, which is possible to buy online at https://www.sng.sk/en/eshop/books/exhibition-catalogues. As this collection is mapping the century-long developement of poster and graphic design in Slovakia, artworks from this collection are mentioned in many books and exhibitions.
Author(s) of this page
- Benčuriková, Martina
Hanáková, Petra, interview by Benčuriková, Martina, June 14, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Last edited on: 2020-02-26 13:39:10