The National Gallery of Tirana (Albania)

The National Gallery of Arts is a state institution under the care of Ministry of Culture. This highly important art institution functions based on the Albanian Law of Museums and the Law of National Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Albania. The status of the National Gallery of Arts is approved by the Albanian Ministry of Culture; it operates on a daily basis following an internal set of rules and regulations. The beginnings of the National Gallery of Arts can be traced back to the endeavours of a group of Albanian artists and the Arts’ Committee of 1946. Pinakoteka was the first institution of fine arts in Albania. After much toil and extensive efforts the Gallery of Arts officially opened to the public in Tirana on 11 January 1954. In 1956, as a result of the rapid growth of its artwork fund, extensive acquisitions and the blossoming of the artistic creativity, the Gallery moved to a more suitable building in the “Fortuzi” Street in Tirana, three stories high and with several exhibition spaces inside and outside the building. The Gallery worked in two main directions, exhibiting the permanent collection and opening temporary exhibitions of Albanian and foreign artists. The new visions on the development and display of fine arts, as well as the new acquisitions increased the number of artworks at the Gallery’s disposal and brought about the need for a larger and more functional new building. The new venue opened on 29 November 1974; it was situated on the Boulevard “Martyrs of the Nation” and it is the existing building where the Gallery of Arts stands today. This new opening is the moment of reorganization and of the first rebuilding programme, which consisted in establishing an administrative structure made up of several departments dealing with artistic activities. The fund of the new gallery, up to this time, counted 340 artworks and its archives counted 240 registered artists. From this moment onwards the Gallery of Arts functions as the only and most important national institution of exhibiting, conserving, studying, restoring, publishing, documenting and archiving the works of art in Albania.
Through the decree No. 350, dated 10.08.1992 the Albanian Council of Ministers changed the name of the Gallery of Arts to the National Gallery of Arts, based on this incentive: “To better express the purpose and functioning of this distinctive national institution that protects and disseminates the interests of the Albanian visual arts.” Since 1949 until today, the National Gallery of Arts functions as the only cultural institution of its kind. In 2009, and 2010, the National Gallery of Arts underwent important renovation works through a series of considerable private and public investments, which consist in a qualitative reconstruction of interior spaces as near as possible to the original architectural project. Part of the major reconstruction of the National Gallery it is also the showing of the permanent collection in May 2009 through a new visualizing concept aiming to a better dissemination, education and information on cultural matters for an ever increasing Albanian and foreign public.