Storage and record keeping
As of 31 March 2022, the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region held a total of 11,011 items in its collection. These represent the gallery’s completely holdings. The GASK collection is divided into six sub-collections: paintings, drawings, prints, photography and new media, sculptures and applied art, and a separate collection of the illumination. For more on the story of the collection and the various sub-collections, see the section Online Collection.
The items in the collection are stored in depositories meeting the highest standards of care and security, with a special emphasis on optimum climatic conditions. Since 2020, we have administered our collection and records using the MUSEION record-keeping system capable of sharing data with other systems.
The conservation and restoration of collection items forms an integral part of looking after our collection. Although the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region does not have its own art restoration facilities, it has a long history of working with licensed outside art restorers. Difficult restoration projects are made possible thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Culture’s ČR ISO/D subsidy fund, with co-funding from the Central Bohemian Region. Smaller projects are managed from our own budget or are paid for by the works’ lenders.
In 2021, we engaged in the difficult restoration of a total of 11 works from a set of paintings by Vratislav Nechleba and from the extensive sculpture estate of Karel Kotrba.
Other important tasks of collection administration include organising loans to other art institutions, research and the related provision of digital image files and reproduction rights pertaining to our collection items. In 2021, the gallery lent nearly 200 collection items, and reproductions appeared in 25 catalogues and specialised publications in the Czech Republic and other countries. In recent years, some of our most important international partners have included the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris and Museum MORE in the Netherlands.
Acquisition activities are an important part of the mission of the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region as a collecting institution. The organic growth of our collection is guaranteed by the document titled Vision for GASK’s Collecting Activities, which emphasises interconnections with work from the 1980s and 1990s. In 2019, GASK’s director appointed a new acquisition committee that, as an expert advisory body, is tasked with negotiating offers for the purchase or donation of works for the GASK collection and that makes statements on the price of the offered works as well as their significance in terms of enriching and enhancing the overall value of the collection.
In 2021, GASK acquired Aleš Veselý’s monumental piece Entrance to the Law. ‘For nearly seven years, Entrance to the Law has served as a major work of art in the public space while also effectively communicating our institution’s mission’, says GASK’s chief curator Richard Drury.
The digitisation of works of art is absolutely essential to the proper use and preservation of a collection. The Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region has systematically focused on digitising its collection for more than 15 years. For the digitisation of works on paper, we use the digitisation facilities of the Central Bohemian Research Library, while paintings and sculptures are documented in collaboration with an external collection photographer. In future, GASK hopes to establish its own digitisation facilities. In 2021, the gallery launched a new Online Collection section, which serves as a virtual depository. In 2022, the online presentation of our collection was expanded to include the Esbirky national website and the Europeana European digital cultural platform.