Letter of Protest

 

Ing. Andrej Babiš
Prime Minister
Úřad vlády České republiky
nábřeží Edvarda Beneše 4
Praha 1 - Malá Strana
118 01 Česká republika

 

Dismissal of Jiří Fajt
7 May 2019

 

Dear Prime Minister,

We take the liberty of writing to you regarding the dismissal of Jiří Fajt, Director General of the National Gallery Prague.

The museums of the undersigned directors have long maintained excellent relations and intensive cooperation partnerships with the National Gallery Prague, which were initiated to a large extent by Jiří Fajt and have been developed and expanded through his expert cooperation.

Our collaborations aim at a better exchange among our employees, sustainable development of contacts, long-term planning of joint projects as well as mutual appreciation and recognition and connecting our audience. They also allow us to explore new aspects of art history, negotiate important topics and to develop new formats of education. These are important core aspects for the work of public museums. Furthermore, such international partnerships serve as ambassadors for the respective cultural circles and as an opportunity to bring about a deep understanding of art and culture for the respective partners and their countries.

Without the commitment of Jiří Fajt, many of our joint projects would have never come into being. Mr. Fajt has been working at the National Gallery in Prague since 1993, where he has held the position of Director General since 2014. His deep knowledge of the National Gallery's collections, his profound scientific expertise and his excellent communication skills are indispensable for our cooperation partnerships.

We value Mr. Fajt as an outstanding museum director and an excellent scholar. With innovative ideas, he tries to open up the museum as an institution to a diverse public and to address new target groups. Via very popular formats, such as the Grand Openings in the Trade Fair Palace, he particularly succeeded in addressing the younger generation. The orientation towards modern and contemporary art, with artists such as Katharina Grosse, Ai WeiWei, Gerhard Richter, Maria Lassnig, František Kupka, Josef Koudelka or Magdalena Jetelová, the negotiation of relevant topics and the connection with classical art history are also groundbreaking for the museum as an institution in the 21st century.

Mr. Fajt has also managed to triple the number of visitors of the National Gallery during his tenure as General Director. For these successes, he is regarded as a very highly recognized and esteemed colleague among the international museum scene. Many museums acknowledge his highly professional work as a role model and a source of inspiration.

The dismissal of Mr. Fajt is met with great indignation by his colleagues worldwide. Mr. Fajt has a very large international network, which greatly appreciates and supports him.

With this letter, we would like to express our astonishment and dismay at the dismissal of Mr. Fajt.

Yours sincerely,

Marion Ackermann, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Maria Balshaw, Tate Galleries, United Kingdom
Christoph Becker, Kunsthaus Zürich
Gabriella Belli, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
Bernard Blistène, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Manuel Borja-Villel, The Museo Reina Sofía
Michael Brand, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Laurence des Cars, Musée d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie, Paris
Emmanuel Coquery, Réunion des Musées Nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, Paris
Michel Draguet, Musées royaux des Beaux-arts de Belgique
Michael Eissenhauer, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Miguel Falomir Faus, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 
Miguel Fernandez Felix, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico
Gabriele Finaldi, The National Gallery, London
Hartwig Fischer, The British Museum
Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen
Sabine Haag, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Josef Helfenstein, Kunstmuseum Basel
Fabrice Hergott, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Max Hollein, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Tristram Hunt, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Paul Dujardin, BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels
Stephan Jost, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
John Leighton, The National Galleries of Scotland
Marina Loshak, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Bernhard Maaz, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München
Glenn D. Lowry, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Timothy Potts, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Sylvie Ramond, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
Stella Rollig, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere
Timothy Rub, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Axel Rüger, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Pepe Serra, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England
James S. Snyder (Director Emeritus), The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Antonio Saborit, The National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Eugene Tan, National Gallery Singapore
Matthew Teitelbaum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Gary Tinterow, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Agnes Tieze, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg
Hanna Wróblewska, Zachęta - Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warsaw

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