Minister of Culture Jiří Besser (non-affiliated) has named economist Vladimír Rösel as Milan Knížák’s successor as director of the Czech National Gallery. An expert committee headed by Besser recommended Rösel’s candidacy — though some of the members are unhappy with the fact that he has no qualifications in art history and little experience in the art world. Rösel will take up the post on June 1.
According to Besser, Rösel’s team presented by far the most comprehensive concept for the development of the Czech National Gallery, which counts on increasing activities abroad and introducing more transparency to the institution’s finances.
“So far I only know about my appointment from the media, and I’m still waiting for official notification from the Ministry of Culture,” Rösel told the ČTK news agency shortly after Besser announced the appointment at a press conference on Monday. Rösel’s team includes the director of the National Gallery’s collection of historic artwork, Vít Vlnas, who has been a prominent critic of Knížák’s leadership.
Knížák told ČTK on Monday that as an economist Rösel may well be a competent organizer but that his lack of experience in the art world may be a disadvantage — and that he will have to depend on the knowledge of his subordinates when taking many decisions. The outgoing National Gallery director added that the ideal candidate would have both expert knowledge and managerial skills.
There were several rounds in the appointment process. The art historian Jiří Fajt was also tipped for the post. Other candidates included director of the Moravian Gallery, Marek Pokorný, and Michail Odarčenko, who was an advisor to the former mayor of Prague, Pavel Bém.
Vladimír Rösel (45) is currently a broker for investment and advisory firm Lombard Advisory Partners. In the 1980s, he was a lecturer at the National Gallery and has experience working with the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Rösel was also a candidate for the post when Knížák was appointed. Presenting his candidacy, Rösel successfully argued that the National Gallery has plenty of competent art experts but that the institution needs a genuine manager or economist at its helm.