Support for Art and Culture
Supporting culture is closely connected to the VÍTKOVICE brand name. Every year, there are multiple significant cultural events of the VÍTKOVICE MACHINERY GROUP that are created and supported by the holding.
Unique cultural events are associated with VÍTKOVICE MACHINERY GROUP, for example G. Klimt's Judith exhibition, the exhibition FENOMÉN VÍTKOVICE and biennial exhibitions Sváry zření and Industriální stropy. With the support of the VITKOVICE MACHINERY GROUP, Chagall Gallery prepared an exhibition dedicated to the life of Helena Salichová, one of the most significant Silesian female artists. Another event is a creative meeting of reputable visual artists of SMALT ART VÍTKOVICE, which is an irreplaceable cultural event in Ostravian region. The birth of giant artistic enamels is the moment when the public views VÍTKOVICE not only as an engineering leader, but also as a company that can use its technology for other than commercial purposes.
The history of the artwork collection of VÍTKOVICE is most often associated with Oskar Federer, the last pre-war managing director of the VHHT. If we take a deeper look into the past, we can find out that also Paul Kupelwieser, the most significant managing director of Vítkovické horní a hutní těžířstvo (VHHT) leaned towards art. He decorated the director's residence – the so-called Vítkovice chateau with paintings of his father, Leopold Kupelwieser, a well-known painter and a professor of history of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
After further hunting for the earliest encounter of Vítkovické železárny with visual arts, we get to the middle of the 19th century when first pictures of our factory were created – a series of manually coloured lithographs by Ernsta Wilhelma Knippel, from whose art we know what the Rudolf's and Anselm's Iron and Steel works looked like at the time when Salomon Mayer Rothschild was the owner. There is another lithograph from 1855 by Jakub Alt with the view of Vítkovické železárny from Moravian Ostrava. Further development can be seen from panoramas by Erwin Pendel from the beginning of the 20th century. It would be unfair not to mention some other artists that were looking for inspiration near the blast furnaces and in Vítkovice factories, Rudolf Kratochvíl, Ferdinand Tille, Jan Václav Sládek and Milan Zezula. From contemporary artists, we can mention Jindřich Štreit, a photographer who focused on the industrial area of Vítkovice. His photos were released in a book called simply „VÍTKOVICE".
We are getting back to the artwork collection and Oskar Federer. He devoted himself to collecting art before he became the managing director of the VHHT. His consultant was Rudolf Kuchynka, an art historian. His collection contained works of phenomenal artists such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch and many more. Before he emigrated from occupied Czechoslovakia, Federer managed to take his most valuable works abroad. Yet, many great works stayed in Vítkovice and gained a higher value. In 1945, 20 paintings of the collection got to the Gallery of Visual Arts in Ostrava. Oskar Federer's entire property was passed to the state when the court applied Beneš decrees to him. He cooperated with the government-in-exile during the Second World War and, without his presence at the court, was sentenced for being a German collaborate in a fabricated process in 1951. In 2008, the court returned all confiscated works to Federer's heirs. However, the story of Federer's collection doesn't end, because four paintings were bought at auction by VÍTKOVICE, a. s., and got back to the building of the reconstructed Vítkovice chateau and became a part of Vítkovice's collection. These are works by Max Pechstein, Lesser Ury, Antonín Hudeček and Anton Faistauer. We can find more of such remarkable works in the artwork collection of VÍTKOVICE, a. s. From the most interesting ones we can choose "Pískaři na Seině" by František Kupka, which used to belong to president Beneš, and Bohumil Kubišta's oil painting "V kuchyni" that was considered to be lost for a long time. Emil Filla is represented by the cubistic oil painting "Zátiší s artyčokem a mandolínou". In the chateau you can find a large, almost 7 m long theatre curtain by Václav Boštík. "Krystalizace", an oil painting on an asymmetrical canvas by Zdeněk Sýkora is also noticeable. There are also hundreds of oil paintings and graphic sheets by artists connected with Ostravian region such as Ferdiš Duša, Helena Salichová and others.