120 YEARS OF THE ART OF PAINTING AND SCULPTURE IN ALBANIA
FROM THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY UNTIL THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
THE COLLECTION OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ARTS.

Room 1

Beginning of the painting in the Albanian cities (1883 – 1930)

The fund of the National Gallery of Arts treasures paintings that date from the end of the 19th century, a period which marks the beginning of secular painting in Albania. The earliest painting author of the National Gallery is Kol Idromeno, whose work ‘Sister Tone’ dates back to 1883. The early secular paintings in Albania manifest some sort of amateurism. This tendency lasts until the early 1930s, when it starts a serious effort to build artistic schools and institutions. All the same, these paintings show us sufficiently about the cultural atmosphere dominating in Albania at the beginning of the 20th century and are authentic ethnographic and historical documents of the period.  They also manifest some romantic spirit in them. Apart from Idromeno, other important authors from this period are Pjetër Marubi, Simon Rrota, Zef Kolombi, Vangjel Zengo, Spiro Xega and others.

Kol Idromeno, Motra Tone 1883
Kol Idromeno, Dasma shkodrane 1924
Kol Idromeno, Portret i Gjuzepinės 1920
Kol Idromeno, Portret burri
Kolė Idromeno, Pamje nga Ulqini 1897
Pjetėr Marubi & Mikel Kodheli, Nikollė Coba me kostum shkodran 1897
Pjetėr Marubi, Portret i Ismail Pashės
Simon Rrota, Gjatė punės 1934
Simon Rrota,Tė korrurat
Simon Rrota, Tek pusi i fshatit 1934
Simon Rrota, Portret i Kara Mahmut Pashės
Simon Rrota, Portret malsoreje 1923
Spiro Xega, Ēeta e Shain Matrakut 1930
Spiro Xega_ Skėnderbeu 1931
Theohar Gjini, Skėnderbeu
Zef Kolombi, Natyrė e qetė me rrush e pjeshkė 1940
Zef Kolombi, Rrėnoja nė Elbasan 1938
Zef Kolombi, Skėnderbeu nė luftė me persėt 1927

Room 2

Realist painting and the Drawing School (1930 – 1950)

The economic and political developments as well as the overall conditions of the country during the years of the Albanian Monarchy (1928 – 1939) made possible the opening in Tirana of the Drawing School in 1931. Some of the first painters to study there were Sadik Kaceli, Abdurrahim Buza and Gani Strazimiri although very few works from this school's output are to be found in the fund of the National Gallery. Other artists who study abroad in the neighbouring countries and then return home in Albania to ply their trade are Odhise Paskali, Andrea Kushi, Vangjush Mijo, Janaq Paēo, Foto Stamo, the Zengo sisters and many others. These artists comprise the academically educated generation of painters who endeavour to develop Albanian portraiture, landscape, still life and so on. An overall characteristic of the works from this period found in the National Gallery is the effort the artists make to master the artistic techniques while showing an interest to depict the reality truthfully and faithfully.

Zef Kolombi, Rrugė nė Elbasan 1938
Zef Kolombi, Portret plake 1937
Zef Kolombi_ Portret gruaje 1937
Zef Kolombi, Peizazh me buaj 1937
Zef Kolombi, Dy lopė 1936
Vladimir Jani, Tre objekte
Vangjush Mio, Vjeshtė me udhėtarė 1934
Vangjush Mio, Portret vajze (studim) 1919
Vangjush Mio, Peizazh 1919
Vangjush Mio, Peisazh fshati 1939
Vangjush Mio, Pamje nga Pogradeci 1929
Vangjush Mio, Liqeni i Pogradecit
Vangjush Mio, Fusha e Korcės 1943
Vangjush Mio, Liqeni i Pogradecit
Sofia Papadhimitri, Punėtori me ēekiē 1938
Sofia Papadhimitri, Portret gruaje 1938
Sofia Papadhimitri, Autoportret 1939.jpg
Simon Rrota, Portret rrobaqepseje 1929
Sali Shijaku, Portret 1951
Sadik Kaceli, Portret fshatari 1933
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Malėsorja 1947
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Kasolle nė Itali 1944
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Brendi shtėpie 1944
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Brendi nė Theth 1947
Ibrahim Kodra, Tirana 1938
Gani Strazimiri, Pazari i vjetėr i Tiranės 1936
Foto Stamo, Refugjatėt 1941
Foto Stamo, Plaku 1941
Foto Stamo, Pazari i Tiranės
Foto Stamo, Djaloshi jetim 1942
Foto Stamo, Cigani i vogėl 1942
Androniqi Zengo, Autoprtret 1935
Andrea Kushi, Vajza me kostum 1949
Abdurrahim Buza, Pogradeci 1934
Abdurrahim Buza, Autoportret 1934

Room 3

Academic painting and the historical theme tableaux (1950 – 1980)

With the end of the Second World War and coming to power of the communist regime in Albania begins the undertaking of the historical and political themed tableaux. In general the main theme here was the Liberation war and Antifascist struggle as well as the historical changes and events of the Albanian nation, but simultaneously we see works who deal with different events from Albania's history such as, for example, the resistance of Skanderbeg against the Turks in the 15th century to mention but one. The main artists representative of this period are those who studied in the Western art academies and reflect an academic preparation in their works such as Nexhmedin Zajmi, Sadik Kaceli, Abdullah Cangonji and others. Important artists of this period who studied in the academies of the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries are painters such as Guri Madhi, Sali Shijaku, Vilson Kilica, Ksenofon Dilo and others.

Vilson Kilica, Nė studio
Sali Shijaku, Vojo Kushi 1969
Rafael Dembo, Shkojmė nė punė
Petro Kokushta, Me top asamblenė tradhėtare 1979
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Prita partizane 1956
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Natyrė e qetė 1955
Fatmir Haxhiu, Fitimtari 1979
Abdurrahim Buza, Refugjatėt 1957
Abdurrahim Buza, Puna vullnetare nė kombinatin e tekstileve 'Stali'
Abdullah Cangonji, Peshkatarėt

Room 4

Socialist Realism. Creation of the Models of the New Man (1960 – 1989)

With the return of the Albanian artists from the eastern European schools of art, we can say that the period of Socialist Realism commences in the history of Albanian art. The art of this period is entirely propaganda, serving the interest of the political regime in power. Following to the letter the blueprint cliché imported from its originating place, the former Soviet Union, this art focused on the workers and their actions, transforming them thus into 'myths' of the period. In fact Socialist Realism does not try to show openly and truthfully the daily aspects of the reality of the working class, but strives to erect and establish the socialist working activity as some sort of a cult, while placing the common worker as the main personage of a 'new epoch' that has already started. Noted artists who have developed significant works in this genre are Kristaq Rama, Muntaz Dhrami, Zef Shoshi, Pandi Mele, Myrteza Fushekati, Petro Kokushta, Clirim Ceka and many others.

Dhimitėr Mborja, Miq tė uzinės 1969
Pandi Mele, Ushtarėt e revolucionit 1968 (triptik)
Pandi Mele, Ushtarėt e revolucionit 1968 (triptik)
Pandi Mele, Ushtarėt e revolucionit 1968 (triptik)
Nexhmedin Zajmi, Diga e Drinit 1966
Petro Kokushta, Montatori 1979
Sali Shijaku, Naftėtari 1966
Shaban Hysa, Mė tej 1969
Sotir Capo, Prodhuesja e telave elektrik 1969
Spiro Kristo, Brigaderja 1976
Stavri Ēati, Elektrifikimi 1969
Vilson Halimi, Kudo jemi nė ballė 1976
Ēlirim Ceka, '30 Korrik 1978' 1979

Room 5

Formalist painting of Socialist Realism (1969 – 1974)

A very important collection of the National Gallery is the collection of the formalist painting that starts in the history of Albanian painting in the early 1970s. This style of painting, essentially under the influence of the modernist western painting, tries to exist in a peculiar way: whilst relating to the official themes of Socialist Realism, mainly those of the worker at the forefront of the work, the way of painting is in fact, more of a pictorial research with a tendency to navigate through currents such as expressionism, fauvism, cubism, and others. The main artists who have works in such spirit in the National Gallery are: Bajram Mata, Edison Gjergo, Alush Shima, Isuf Sulovari, Eduart Hila, and others.

Lumturi Blloshmi, Nė kompleksin industrial 1974
Llambi Blido, Nė pultin e komandimit 1971
Jorgji Gjikopulli, Lulet e jetes 1970
Isuf Sulovari, Mjelsja 1971
Ismail Lulani, Ushtri dhe popull 1972
Ismail Lulani_ Ndėrtuesit hidrocentralit 1971
Eduard Hila, Mbjellja e pemėve 1971
Edison Gjego, Fondatori 1971
Bardhyl Dule, Ndėrtuesja 1971
Bajram Mata, Kooperativistet 1972

Room 6

Modernist painting and sculpture (1989 – 2001) [elements of modernist painting in the years 1960 – 1970)

For the first time in its history the National Gallery dedicates an entire room to the modernist Albanian painting and sculpture. This room gathers works from artists that have their most telling output after the 1990s such as Ali Oseku, Gazmend Leka, Lumturi Blloshmi, Najada Hamza, Orion Shima and others. At the same time in this room we have a research into the first elements of the initial attempts at modernist painting coming from the 1960s and compatible with the formalist spirit of the Socialist Realism painting of the early 1970s, mainly in the works of artists such as Ksenofon Dilo, Danish Jukniu, Ismail Lulani and others. These artists, alongside the highly politicized paintings of this period, developed an investigative form of painting and artistic expression.

Abdullah Cangonji, Peshkatarėt
Shaqir Veseli, Fraksion 1 1995
Ksenofon Dilo, Pas shiut 1972
Ksenofon Dilo, Mbrėmje 1961
Ismail Lulani, Peizazh 1971
Edi Rama, Pikėllimi i netėve kosovare 1989
Danish Jukniu, Vjeshtė 1973
Bashkim Ahmeti, Kompozim 1994
Agron Bregu, Peisazh 1990