National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (Veletržní palác)

At the time of its construction (completed in 1928), this was the largest building of its kind in the world and the first Functionalist building in Prague. Today it serves the needs of the National Gallery. A unique collection of Czech and international modern and contemporary art includes some extremely valuable examples of French and European art, including important works by such illustrious names as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and many more.

Object description

Building history

Trade Fair Palace

After the first Prague Sample Fair Trade held in 1920, the idea of building a new exhibition ground originated because the old exhibition area was not sufficient anymore. As early as 1919 the Prague Sample Fair Trades were established in order to support the economics of the new state and to build its own commercial centre independent from Vienna. The Building Cooperative was established that bought a land near the old fairgrounds in order to build three commercial palaces and a hotel as a business centre as well as a representation seat of the companies that ran business with us. Architects Oldřich Tyl and Josef Fuchs were entrusted with working out a design of the new building. The construction process started in 1925 and the first trade fair palace (veletržní palác) was ceremonially opened on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic in 1928. However, due to financial reasons this palace remained the only one. At that time it was the biggest construction of its kind in the world and the first building in a new style of Functionalism in Prague. A single huge rectangular block with two underground plus eight above-ground storeys was built on the area of 140 x 80 m. Two central showrooms had 24 000 square metres of the exhibition area: in the southern part there is a 15-metre high hall with a ground plan of 80 x 40 m, originally for heavy engineering industry products, around which individual exhibition floors rise with a simple reinforced concrete structure. The other is a small gallery hall in the northern part, running through all floors, with top lighting, too; it is one of the most impressive spaces of the 20th century buildings. In addition to the fair exhibition, in autumn of 1928 the Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej) was also introduced there, donated to Prague by Alfons Mucha. In the 30s there were established a cinema in the basement, a restaurant on the ground floor and a view café on the 6th floor. The palace served to its original purpose until 1949 with a break during the Nazi occupation when the German used it among others as a gathering place for the Jews before their deportation to concentration camps. From 1951 it served as an administrative building to several businesses in foreign trade. On 14 August 1974 the palace completely burnt down and even its demolishing was considered. However, in 1976 it was listed in the State Register of Immovable Cultural Monuments and two years later assigned to the National Gallery for a permanent exhibition of modern art. It was reconstructed for this purpose according to a design by architect Miroslav Masák and designers of the SIAL Liberec Company. The inauguration of the National Gallery exhibition was held on 13 December 1995.

Opening hours

january - december

Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 - 18:00

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Dukelských hrdinů 47
17000 Praha 7