Petition against the abuse and overseas export of the irreplaceable cultural heritage of Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic cycle of paintings.
(According to §1 of the Act. No. 85/1990 Coll., On the Right to Petition)
In 2017, Prague City Hall along with the Gallery of the City of Prague plans to send the whole of the Slav Epic (twenty large format paintings by Alphonse Mucha) on a tour of Asia. This is despite the fact that in April, 1936 the City Hall issued a decision ref. no .: 5.240.O.H./36
"that the Epic paintings should not be loaned to exhibitions, as due to their technique and enormous size, they will suffer greatly by being transported."
Since the 1960s, individual canvases of the Epic have been exhibited almost twenty times – but before now, never the whole cycle.
This time the whole Epic will travel abroad on a long-term loan for three years.
We are more and more convinced, along with other experts, that the reason behind this tour of Alphonse Mucha’s greatest work is the personal gain and ambition of a small group of people. Based on demand from the Tokyo National Art Centre, in 2012 the Epic was forcibly removed from its longstanding exhibition place in Moravsky Krumlov to the National Gallery in the Trade Fair Palace in Prague. Over the course of the Epic’s exhibition at the Trade Fair Palace the project for an exhibition in Japan was finalized and expanded into a three year exhibition tour across Asia. After Japan, the Epic is going to China, then maybe South Korea and finally to the USA.
Alphonse Mucha’s gift of the Slav Epic to the City of Prague was conditioned on the City building a suitable exhibition space for the Epic. To this date, Prague does not have a suitable exhibition space for the Epic that would meet all the parameters of international standards laid down for exhibiting works of art (ICOM, GCI, CI, ICOMOS).
The fact that this long-term commitment remains unresolved by Prague City Hall should not be used as an excuse to abuse Alphonse Mucha’s work and expose it to negative influences (transportation, mechanical damage, climate change, mould and large crowds).
If the tour is allowed to go ahead, the Czech Republic may lose its good reputation as a culturally advanced country.
Prague is behaving in an uncultured and ill thought out way with regard to our cultural heritage.
A hundred years after Alphonse Mucha started painting the Epic, its current state is alarming. Neither its current condition nor its future exhibition space is being addressed.
As parts of the original canvases have deteriorated, they have been replaced and retouched by restorers. However, nobody has documented what percentage the restorations have replaced the surface of the original paintings. The responsible institutions are not showing due care as regards this cultural monument.
What percentage of Mucha’s original work will be returned to us? What will the value of the Epic be after returning from the proposed exhibition tour?
Do not let the Epic come to further harm.
Cultural monuments should not be for sale.
This cultural heritage should be protected and made available in its homeland.
We, the undersigned, protest against the export of the Slav Epic abroad.
Those who would like to know more about the issue can find exhaustive details, including the opinion of leading renowned experts, on our website: http://www.asorkd.cz/.
Have already signed the petition 10 798 people