Founded in 1951 and reorganized in 1971, The History and Art County Museum, initially owned 2 permanent exhibitions: of history and popular art. Later on, a well-known artist of the time, Ioan Sima - born in Pericei (Salaj county) - donated his personal painting collection, on the condition to be preserved in a proper place, being the central place of a memorial museum. The county leadership decided that the building on the Gheorghe Doja Street no. 6 be offered to the county museum. On the 9th July 1981, a new section of the History and Art Museum was inaugurated and was named the “Ioan Sima’ Arts Gallery.

     The Arts Gallery exhibited in 1981 Ioan Sima’s paintings in seven large rooms properly organized to offer a proper space to museum activities. But soon the space proved to be too cramped and the organization of other personal or group exhibitions was practically impossible. In this context, the museum was offered (in 1983) 8 more rooms, now having a larger exhibition space.

     On the 1981 opening of the gallery, the Museum already owned an important number of painting and sculpture items. The central point of attraction was undoubtless the collection of 162 paintings and graphic items forming the “Ioan Sima” Collection. Later on the artist donated 40 more paintings, enlarging the collection. More than that, he even donated his furniture items, popular art items, his personal archive as well as other personal objects. Following the master’s example, his niece, Maria Margareta Botezatu, donated the gallery a part of the paintings offered by her uncle. The consequence of these gestures is an attempt to stress the artistic and human profile of the artist Ioan Sima, the gallery permanently exhibiting an important part of his most representative works of art. The internal organization of the exhibition was made by the specialist in museography Pia Maria Badiu, a very close friend of the painter, and she tried to exhibit the works classifying them on different themes, creative stages, thus defining Ioan Sima’s place among the great Romanian and universal artists.

     In the attempt to become a cultural contemporary centre, the collection becomes larger with the years. It contains works belonging to the Romanian artists Corneliu Baba, Aurel Ciupe, Rudolf Schwitzer Cumpana, Petre Abrudan, Alexandru Mohi, Paul Sima, Ioan Mitrea, the most important operas coming from the painting schools in Cluj, Baia Mare, Timisoara and Oradea. Organising more exhibitions every year, the collection was enlarged by the donations made by the contamporary artists Teodor Botis, Victor Gaga, Vasile Pop Negresteanu, Eugen Patachi, Aurel Contras, Gheorghe Ilea, Marcel Munteanu and their students.

     The Gallery is a remarcable cultural centre, becoming known in the country due to its important exhibitions. A great collection of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera – bought by the museum from Tokacs Adalbert, a passioned Zalau collectioner is housed at the entrance of the gallery. The etmological collection ( constituted through the collectioner’s efforts to gather and classify local and universal species) offers the public a pleasant foray into the natural science. The butterflies colours as well as the size of the bugs is frequently raising admirative exclamations. These items attract mostly the young public.

      The gallery is coordinated by the museographic staff, covering all the museum activities ( especially public guiding), museographic pedagogy, activities of item preservation. In the same time the staff organizes concerts, instrumental recitals (especially piano recitals) or other events.

     Address: 6, Gheorghe Doja str; tel: 0260 611 065; Open: daily 8-16, Monday closed.

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