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Paintings have power, they can replace words and open up views into completely unknown worlds.

In a joint project with Maribor Art Gallery in 2020, we are launching a series of activities dedicated to the study of the creation of the first collections of paintings and the centenary of organised artistic activity in Maribor.

The exhibition of the Maribor Regional Museum entitled INVENTORY NUMBER 1 presents paintings that came into the museum collection as a result of the work of the predecessors of the present museum - the Museum Society in Maribor, the Historical Society for Slovene Styria and the Diocesan Museum.

In the past decades we were mainly interested in the object as a work of art and as a document of a particular artistic style, environment and period. However in the context of the project INVENTORY NUMBER 1 we have also taken an interest in the donor or the collector, who for certain reason donated or acquired the object for his or her own or the museum's collection. The material is closely linked to Maribor and its inhabitants, and to the spirit of reflection and national identity at the turn of the 20th century.

We are convinced that these stories can be appealing to modern-day museum visitors.

You are kindly invited to delve into our virtual exhibition!


Eduard Lind, Mayor of Maribor Andreas Tappeiner, 1863

Before the city museum was opened in 1903, the exhibition of paintings was limited to churches, where painting had a liturgical significance, and to private collections of the nobility, which were only partially accessible to the public. Paintings in bourgeois environments can only be considered in the context of residential culture and were not accessible to the general public.

The first information about the organisation of occasional exhibitions of paintings in Maribor can be found in the Marburger Zeitung newspaper, which reports that between the 24th of December 1865 and the 6th of January 1866 an exhibition by the Steierisches Kunstverein, based in Graz, was held in the building of the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor (The Kazina Hall). The exhibition was visited by 720 visitors.

We can see some glimpses of exhibition related activity in the mentions section of the same newspaper, where, for example, it was written that in 1870 a watercolour painting by the local artist Katharina Liebetrau was exhibited in the "Anton Ferlinz showcase". Works by the Maribor painter Eduard Lind, commissioned by the magistrate or the City Savings Bank, were also occasionally exhibited in the Marburger Zeitung's offices in the second half of the 19th century.

Due to tensions between the German and Slovenian populations in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, the circumstances for the development of local art were not favourable. After the First World War, however, there was a tendency to exhibit works by Slovenian artists and, at the same time, to organise artists in a way that would bring them together. The first exhibition was held in the Kazina Hall from the 8th of December 1920 to the 2nd of January 1921. In the same year, the "Grohar Fine Artists Club" was founded.

Until the establishment of the Maribor Art Gallery in 1954, paintings by 20th-century artists were also collected and kept by the Maribor Regional Museum. After the Gallery was established, the majority of these works were removed from the Museum's inventory book and handed over to the new institution.