The Sombor City Museum was opened to public on October 1945, with a permanent exhibition of a part of the interwar period art from the collection of the diplomat Pavle Beljanski. That collection of extraordinary value that’s now in Novi Sad, was in Sombor City Museum all the way to 1952, when it was transferred to Belgrade and then donated to Novi Sad in 1957.
Alongside that collection, the Fine arts department consisted of the works of uneven quality collected from the war devastated houses after WWII. During the upcoming decades, systematic purchases and gifts followed, which increased the value of the collection: gifts from Arpad Juhas, Peter Kalman, paintings and applied art works from the legacy of Smiljka Paunović, nee Palanački, heir of Julijana Palanački, who was wife of the great Serbian poet Laza Kostić, gifts from Sombor’s painters for the hundredth anniversary of the Museum, legacies of Mileta Vitorović, Zoran Stošić Vranjski, Dušan Mašić and Ladislav Petreš, drawings and documentation gifts from Branislav Brankov by his widow Marija Vašađi and others.
The Fine arts department contains the collections of the heritage fine art and applied art and the “Likovna jesen” contemporary art collection.
Collection of heritage and applied art
The collection of fine arts displays the historical development of the sacred and secular painting from the 18th to the first half of the 20th century with extraordinary works of: Matija Haniš, The Crucifixion of Christ, Arsenije Teodorović, the Portrait of Avram Mrazović, Mor Tan, the Portrait of the Queen Elizabeth (Sisi), Marija Atanasijević—Veselinović, Saint George slaying the dragon, Uroš Predić, the Portrait of Jelisaveta Gligorijević, Peter Kalman, the Model in the atelier, Arpad Juhas, the Autoportrait, and others.
The applied arts works that particularly draw attention are the Zsolnay tile stove, neo rococo furniture, parts of furniture and household items from the Biedermeier period, the tapestries originating from the sketches of the French artist Lionel Peraux, Laza Kostić’s writing table the items made of textile, porcelain, precious metal and superiorly crafted wood: clothing items, glasses, chandeliers, lamps, bowls, plates, cutlery, parts of kitchen and room furniture, and others.
Collection of contemporary art “Likovna jesen”
The Modern Art Gallery features the collection of fine arts purchased at the annual exhibitions of the Likovna jesen event. That event was initiated in 1961 by painter Milan Konjović, the general manager of the City Museum at the time. The annual exhibitions of Likovna jesen, as well as the drawings Triennial, and other collective and solo exhibitions, which were thought of and executed by some of the most significant Yugoslav art critics and art historians, gathered many famous artists from the entire former Yugoslavia. The collection features the works of Zora Petrović, Gojmir Anton Kosa, Edo Murtića, Lazar Vozarević, Risto Kalčevski, M. B. Protić, Stojan Ćelić, Marko Čelebonović, Ferdinand Kulmer, Julija Knifer, Branko Filipović, Voja Stanić, Vladimir Veličković, Cile Marinković, Sadko Hadžihasanović, Milete Prodanović, Gustav Gnamuš, and others.