The Slavic Epic by Alfons Mucha could be temporarily displayed in the Savarin Palace, acquired in 2015 by Crestyl company. The canvas would move after a five-year loan to Moravský Krumlov and for a maximum of 25 years.
The Slav Epic (Czech: Slovanská epopej) is a cycle of 20 large canvases painted by Czech Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha between 1910 and 1928. The cycle depicts the mythology and history of Czechs and other Slavic peoples.
In 1928, after finishing his monumental work, Mucha bestowed the cycle upon the city of Prague on condition that the city builds a special pavilion for it.
In 2012, all 20 works were moved and displayed together on the ground floor of the Veletržní Palace until 2016, in an exhibition organized by the National Gallery in Prague.
In December, the District Court of Prague has ruled against the capital in a case regarding the cycle of paintings. The lawsuit was filed by the artist’s grandson John, who claimed that the city had violated the terms of a 1913 agreement between Mucha and his benefactor, the American philanthropist Charles R. Crane, which stipulated that the works would be gifted to Prague on the condition that the city build a pavilion to house them.
“The Slavic Epic is one of the cultural symbols of this country. Quarreling and disputing over them is a shame and nonsense. That is why we have started to work with all sides and I hope we will come to a rational solution soon,” City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha Sobě) said.
Mucha, who died in 1939, gained international celebrity for his distinct posters and illustrations, which today are among the most iconic pieces of the Art Nouveau movement.
Travels through the Balkans inspired him to undertake a record of the region, which culminated in 1928 as the cycle of 20 paintings known as the Slav Epic. The enormous canvases depict the mythology and key histories of the Slav people.
He considered the Slav Epic his masterwork, telling a crowd upon the debut of the initial 11 canvases in 1919, “Let it announce to foreign friends—and even to enemies—who we were, who we are, and what we hope for.” The insurance value of the group of works has been estimated around 280 million CZK.
Crestyl Real Estate is planning to start the construction of the 39,000 sqm Savarin mixed-use redevelopment project in Prague’s historic centre. The project, based on the plans of the Heatherwick Studio, will see the construction of new office, retail, leisure, and entertainment space within the original Baroque palace, riding hall, and its courtyards.
Eschewing the traditional ‘anchor tenant’ approach of a shopping mall, Crestyl has pulled off the commendable feat of making Prague one of only three European cities to have a Time Out Market and just the second management agreement signed by the global media and entertainment business after Montreal.
The first Time Out Market opened in Lisbon in 2014 and is today Portugal’s most popular attraction with a record 3.6 million visitors in 2017.