During its half-century history, the Gabrovo art gallery has managed to fulfill the dreams of its founders and supporters, for a rich collection of artworks of Bulgarian artists. And so in time, it rightfully took its place of one of the treasuries of our national art. The new exhibition, which includes part of the most notable works, kept in the funds of the gallery, is the result of the ambition of the gallery’s team to present its synthesized vision of the dimensions of artistic heritage, which they must popularize.
The appearance of the collection of icons is formed, mainly by works of iconographers from the Tryavna school of iconography, who have generally made murals and icons for churches in the region and in several towns around Turnovo and the lower parts of the Balkan mountains, during the 19th century. Among them are works of the famous, during the second half of this century, Simeon Koyuv, Racho Tiholov and Anton Stefanov. In this renaissance collection, two icons of the most notable representative of the Samokov school of iconography – Zahari Zograf, take a major place.
The section for contemporary paintings, includes almost all artistic phenomena, and a part of their representative artists. The works of Hristo Tsokev, logically going across the “bridge”, between the church and worldly art, are among the earliest secular paintings, which the gallery owns. The years at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, are marked by two interesting, yet unfortunately less popular paintings by Ivan Mrkviska and Yaroslav Veshin, and one of the most famous portraits of Mrkviska, painted by Anton Mitov. The following generations of artists are represented through portraits by Stefan Ivanov, Boris Mitov, Dechko Uzunov, David Peretz, Ilia Petrov, landscapes by Alexander Mutafov, Nikola Tanev, Tsanko Lavrenov, Ivan Hristov, Jordan Geshev, Konstantin Tringov, genre compositions by Dimitar Kumanov, Dimitar Gyudjenov, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, the typical images of Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master and Stoyan Venev as well as historical plots by Vasil Stoilov and Evgeni Poptoshev. The dynamic processes in the world of painting after the 60s, are reflected through works by Alexander Petrov, Georgi Pavlov – Pavleto, Naiden Petkov, and with paintings by Georgi Baev, Genko Genkov, Svetlin Rusev, Yoan Leviev, Georgi Bozhilov, Dimitar Kirov, Emil Stoichev, and furthermore the last three decades of the century are represented through paintings by artists, such as Atanas Yaranov, Ivan Dimov, Teofan Sokerov, Dimitar Buyuklijski, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Mincho Minchev, Gredi Assa, and so on.
The graphical part of the exhibition, introduced with an ink drawing by Ilia Beshkov, is oriented towards works of authors, who have a contribution to the basic idea –plastic directions, characterizing the development of the Bulgarian graphics during the second half of the 20th century. This brief synopsis begins with works by artists such as Zafir Yonchev, Maria Nedkova, Todor Panaiotov, Hristo Neikov, Rumen Skorchev and Peter Chuklev and continues with graphics by the artists from the next generation, where the accents are connected to works by Stoimen Stoilov, Stoian Tsanev, Ivan Ninov, Valentin Kolev, Milko Bojkov and others.
The presence of sculptures, despite being modest, is represented by plastics of authors from four generations. The earliest among these is by Andrey Nikolov – one of the most notable figures in the development and establishment of the contemporary Bulgarian plastic. Next come the allocated in time, works of Nikolay Shmirgela ,Kiril Anev, Galin Malakchiev, Pavel Koichev, Bogomil Zhivkov, Margarita Pueva, Vezhdi Rashidov and Angel Stanev.
From the collection of applied art, selected are works, in which despite the variety of plastic solutions, materials and subjects, leading is the idea of the connection of the contemporary art with the traditions.
Included, in the representative exhibition of “Hristo Tsokev” art gallery – Gabrovo, are works by artists, who are either born in Gabrovo, or have connected their lives to its history, whose art is an inalienable part of the artistic processes in the contemporary Bulgarian art. Among them are Georgi Vasilev, Emil Popgenchev, Dora Boneva, Nikifor Tsonev, Nikola Nikolov, Tsanko Vasilev, Mincho Minchev, Nedko Solakov and others.
With a variety of dimensions of its contemporary exhibition the Gabrovo art gallery, rightfully awaits a higher interest, from both the public of its town, as well as the admirers of the visual arts from around the country.
Prof. PhD. Marin Dobrev