The Klović Palace / Klovićevi dvori
The Klović Palace is the largest art gallery in Croatia, curating monumental exhibitions of national and global art. The Palace is named after the famous Croatian miniaturist Julije Klović. A bronze statue of this El Greco student now embellishes the entrance to the gallery and celebrates the Michelangelo of Miniature.
The gallery has a rich and colourful history of celebrating art while successfully bridging the gap between high culture and city life. As Senior Curator Petra Vugrinec recently said, how ‘The Klović Palace Gallery consistently underlines the values of high-culture Zagreb, its refinement, tradition, cultural heritage and charm. Zagreb is a city tailored to people’.
The history of The Klović Palace, a polygon of museological challenges
At the beginning of the 1980s, local authorities renovated a former Jesuit monastery with a vision of repurposing it into a museum-like venue that would celebrate Croatian art and culture. Space was initially offered to the art collector Ante Topić Mimara. Allegedly, Mimara considered the space to be inadequate in style and size and decided not to present his collection there.
Instead, the city opened the then-called Museum Space (later renamed to The Klović Palace) in the spring of 1982. Today, Mimara’s art collection is on permanent exhibition in Roosevelt Square.
The thirst for art and culture was evident – the gallery immediately revitalised the art scene in Zagreb and Croatia. Born almost accidentally, the Museum Space turned out to be ‘a burning desire of the cultural environment, a need for a space that would be an exhibition polygon, a living gallery organism and an intersection of cultural lives with a broader meaning”.
The gallery bravely and ambitiously started with three cultural projects that were anything but usual for Croatia’s then sleepy, timid art environment, exhibiting Dürer, Dušan Džamonja and Oton Gliha.
Collections and permanent exhibitions
From its earliest beginnings, the Museum Space boasted high ambitions and started organising impressive foreign exhibitions. Since 1982, the gallery has hosted over 2,000 exhibitions, including Picasso, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Chagall, Degas, Monet.
The Klović Palace is home to six collections:
- The Oskar Herman Collection
- The Josip Crnobori Collection
- Vinko Berčić’s Collection
- The Slavko Kopac Collection
- The Josip Restek Collection
- Collection of Donated Artwork (79 pieces)
The gallery has four exhibition floors with up to 30 annual exhibitions. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy the venue.
The Gallery is currently featuring two exhibitions, Virtual Exhibition ‘Ars et virtus: Croatia – Hungary. 800 years of common cultural heritage’ and Zlatko Keser: monographic exhibition.
Museological innovations and digitalisation allowed The Palace to adapt to the new normal relatively quickly. Next to the currently active ‘Ars et virtus’, the gallery recently hosted a video exhibition dedicated to the city titled ‘Zagreb, kak te imam rad*’ (English: Zagreb, I love you so much).
‘What I love about Klovićevi Dvori Gallery is that its exhibitions and cultural selection always take me back to the essence of Zagreb, a regional capital and pulsating hub of urban culture in development since the 19th century’, says Croatian art historian Anja Ivić. ‘The Palace echoes the voices of Zagreb’s centuries-long cultural and living tradition written, sung and painted by its artists, poets and notable personas’.
The Artionica program is the community outreach program that aims to bring art and culture closer to children of all ages and persons with special needs. The workshops are organised based on the age of the participants:
- Workshops for children aged 7-15: every Saturday
- Kindergarten workshops
- School workshops
- Workshops for people with special needs
The program is a raving success among little ones. The gallery has been hosting events of this type since 2002, profoundly entwining The Palace with the city population from their earliest days by instilling artistry and appreciation of culture.
The Klović Palace is located at the very centre of Zagreb’s Upper Town (Croatian: Gornji Grad). The institution itself recommends the Zagreb Funicular (Croatian: Uspinjača) or Zakmardi’s steps as the easiest way to get to the gallery.
It’s open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 AM – 7 PM, and it’s least crowded during the week in the early afternoon. You will find the most visitors there from Thursday night through Friday and Saturday.