This surprisingly modern-looking building, in reality a functionalist wonder designed by Oldřich Tyl and Josef Fuchs and opened in 1929, was designed to host trade fairs. It hasn't hosted any such events for more than 50 years, though; since its 1995 reconstruction, it's housed the National Gallery's collections of modern and contemporary art.
Highlights of the 19th-century collection include the paintings of Karel Purkyně, informed by close observation and a thorough knowledge of old master techniques, and the mystical strain of 19th-century Czech art, represented by symbolists Max Švabinský and František Bílek. There's also an impressive collection of Czech art from 1900 to 1930: groundbreaking abstract artist František Kupka is well represented, along with Czech cubists, surrealists and social art from the 1920s. It's hard to imagine a better collection of Bohemian art from 1930 to the present, including surrealist works by Toyen and Jindřich Štýrský. And elsewhere, there are many chilling but sometimes amusing works of Stalin-era socialist realism and the existentialist Art Informel pieces from around the same period.
The museum is the venue for the International Triennial of Contemporary Art. It also hosts a show of finalists for the NG 333 Prize for artists under the age of 33, which the gallery started in 2007 as a counterpart to the well-established Jindřich Chalupecký Award for under-35s.