The Arsenal Gallery
The Gallery of Modern Art in Hvar was established in 1957, thanks to the relentless efforts of Dr. Grgo Gamulin and Dr. Niko Duboković. It is located in the Arsenal building, in the lobby of The Historic Theatre of Hvar, and it was given the name Arsenal after the renovation in 1984.
Dr. Grgo Gamulin, one of the leading experts in the field of Croatian contemporary art at the time, devised the first permanent display and the newly-made collection reflected the tendencies in Croatian fine arts of the transitional period in the 1950s, the period when the avant-garde art was born and when the synthesis of figurative qualities provided the starting point for the artists’ journey to abstraction.
Grgo Gamulin’s permanent display has remained the central and the most valuable part of the collection holdings.
In 1984, the Gallery was renovated and became a part of The Centre for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Hvar. Dr. Kruno Prijatelj made a few suggestions regarding the permanent display: the selected works aimed to illustrate the longest possible period in the development of painting in the former state and painters from Hvar and Dubrovnik were grouped together.
Today, the Arsenal Gallery is a collection within the Hvar Heritage Museum. The permanent display, containing the most valuable paintings, sculptures and prints from the Museum holdings, and temporary exhibitions organised within the Museum project Summer of Fine Arts in Hvar alternate in the Gallery.
The programme of exhibitions organised by the Museum includes heritage exhibitions and contemporary art exhibitions. Heritage exhibitions can be organised by the Museum curators within their own collections and field research or in cooperation with other museums and galleries, in which case they display the classics of Croatian modern art.
When organising exhibitions of contemporary fine art, every season the Museum strives to present at least one artist born or having resided on the island of Hvar.
Collection manager: Dejanira Burmas Domančić, curator
The permanent display of the Arsenal Gallery
Today’s permanent display contains mostly works of Croatian artists from the 1960s. When choosing paintings for the newly-opened gallery of modern art in Hvar in 1957, Dr. Grgo Gamulin tried to assemble a collection that would reflect the tendencies in Croatian fine arts in the 1950s, when the avant-garde art was created. Even though only a few works of art presented here testify to the trend of abandoning the concrete, the collection illustrates a variety of paths the artists took to reach their goals.
The works presented here reflect the problems that preoccupied the artists of the period – for instance, a rethink of their heritage, existentialism, fantasy painting and, above all, the hermetic, resulting in the abandonment of the figurative.