See Picasso paintings in a South Bohemian castle this summer

Artists exhibited at Avant-Garde from the Stava Family Collection at Bechyně Castle include Max Ernst, Le Corbusier, Juan Miro, and Jean Tinguely. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.06.2024 15:10:00 (updated on 14.06.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Tucked away in the serene South Bohemian countryside, the Bechyně Renaissance Castle, built in the 16th century and perched above the confluence of the Lužnice and Smutná rivers, will provide an idyllic setting for two distinct modern-art exhibits set to open there this month.

“The exhibition concept of the 2024 art season explores freedom in many ways: the freedom of artists then and today, as well as the freedom of the collector to give their art a different context,” says curator Nicole Stava, who together with her sister has transformed the family's castle into a center of culture and contemporary art.

The first exhibition, Avant-Garde from the Stava family collection, will showcase over 130 works by 41 artists. It will offer a chronological journey through 20th-century European avant-garde art. Visitors can admire pieces by luminaries like Picasso, Miró, and Calder, tracing the evolution of abstract and non-conformist styles.

Bechyně Castle

The second exhibition, Contemporary Art and Sculpture Park, is a collaboration with Italy’s prominent Continua Gallery. It will present five artists exploring themes of human existence, reality versus concept, and the blending of art and life. Highlights include an installation by Pascale Marthine Tayou, who surrounds a castle fountain with colorful, petal-like stones as a symbolic nod to post-colonial legacies.

Bechyne Castle

Wandering through the castle’s granary, sculpture park, and interior spaces, visitors will encounter thought-provoking works such as Michelangelo Pistoletto’s labyrinth of mirrors and cardboard.

The Stava family restored the castle in the 1990s, bringing back its Renaissance glory. The estate features exhibition spaces, forests, and ponds. Originally a Gothic castle, renowned artists reconstructed it in the 16th-century with stuccos and frescoes.

The castle functioned as the Academy of Sciences dormitory before the restoration began in 1992. It has since completely restored interiors, furniture, paintings, murals, and the castle park.

The castle’s owners say that it offers nearly 5,000 square meters of exhibition space. "Bechyně Castle is a place of freedom, a place of joy in art, exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge,” Stava said.

Bechyne Castle

Contemporary Summer: Avant-garde from the Stava Family Collection opens on Friday, June 7, 2024, at Bechyně Castle and runs through Sept. 2024.

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