Graphic design

An independent collection of applied graphic art was established in 1961, after the Museum of Applied Arts merged with the Moravian Museum picture gallery. At its core was a series of posters, previously part of the museum library.

The first curator of the new collection was Karel Holešovský (1961-1967), under whose guidance the collection was systematically built. Holešovský concentrated, in particular, on art nouveau posters, the most valuable section of the collection. His exhibition "Art Nouveau Posters from the Moravian Gallery Collections" was presented in Brno, Prague and Warsaw in 1966. Together with Jan Rajlich and Jiří Hlušička, Karel Holešovský was among the founding generation of the Brno Biennial of Applied Graphic Art (later the International Brno Biennial of Graphic Design). Regular international shows of the Brno Biennial reinforced the reputation of the Moravian Gallery among specialists abroad and became a source of precious acquisitions for its collections, not only for the graphic design collection but also for the picture gallery and the library.

From 1967 to 1978 the collection of applied graphic art was headed by Antonín Dufek, who organised a number of exhibitions (Posters of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Japanese Poster, and others.) and systematically expanded the collection with artefacts reflecting contemporary trends in the discipline. As the curator of the photographic collection of the Moravian Gallery, Dufek also observed the employment of photography in posters.

Milada Nováková was the graphic art collection curator in 1978-1986. Her specialist activities centred upon the development of the Brno poster; she prepared several exhibitions of collection items and new biennale acquisitions, an exhibition of the Polish poster, the Brno poster of the interwar period, and several shows of political posters. Since 1986 the collection has been managed by Marta Sylvestrová.

After the adoption of a new concept structure in 2001, an independent department of graphic design came into existence within the Moravian Gallery. Its collection focuses on Czech and international posters and graphic design. Thanks largely to the long-standing renown of the Brno Biennial, which remains the main source of numerous acquisitions, the collection has flourished, and has maintained a unique position through its home and foreign exhibitions, as well as through its participation in specialist international projects (Art as Activist, Smithsonian Institution, USA 1992-1994; Europe Without Walls, Manchester 1992-1993; Signs of the Times, Brno, Manchester, London 1999-2000). Regular and long-term collaboration on research projects with the Art and Design Department of the University of Manchester, starting in 1994, has enabled the collection chiefly to concentrate on the post-war poster in Central and Eastern Europe.

The collection currently features around 30,000 items.