National Art Museum of Moldova is situated in the centre of Chisinau and is the only institution of such a type in Republic of Moldova. It is placed in three representative buildings which are genuine architectural monuments erected at the end of the 19th commence of the 20th centuries.
Hertza House was built in 1906 and represents a sample of Viennese baroque with numerous adornments on the main façade. It is one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Chisinau, with a special charm due to sumptuous decoration. In the upper part of the main façade there may be noticed a rich decorative garment in relief, crowned with cupolas of various forms. Among the authors of the building’s design the Austrian architect Henrih Lonski can be mentioned. The sculptured relieves on the façade were accomplished by Nichifor Colun, a local sculptor. Inside the house the ornamental relief was completed here and there with mural paintings remarkable through the abundance of the artistic décor in alto-relievo and basso relievo which included paintings and sculptured figures.
Kligman House is the second premise of the National Art Museum of Moldova built in 1897. It belonged to the lawyer Moisei Kligman and is characterized by the lines and severity of the neoclassicist style. The exterior of the building strongly contrasted with the luxuriously embellished interior. Mihail Cercheruli-Cus is considered to be the architect of this edifice.
Beginning with 1989 the whole exhibition and administrative activity of the National Art Museum of Moldova is carried on in Natalia Dadiani premise. It was built in 1900-1901 according to the design of the architect Alexandru Bernardazzi. The building stands as a sample of civil architecture of the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century with its specific neoclassicist style with gothic elements. The construction of the building was initiated and financed by the Princess Natalia Dadiani who opened there a gymnasium for girls named after her until 1940. Beginning with 1941 until 1944 the gymnasium is called Queen Maria. The years 1945-1970 the building was the headquarters of Central Committee of The Communist Party of SSRM. In 1970-1988 the building sheltered the Museum of History of Communist Party of SSRM. In the 60ies there has been built an annex, where the administrative bodies of the museum are at the moment.
In 1939 the remarkable sculptor Alexandru Plamadeala selects some 160 works of Bassarabian and Romanian artists (the majority were participants of the 10th Salon of Belle Arte of Bassarabia) in order to set up the first Picture Gallery of Chisinau whose curator was Auguste Baillayre. The opening to the public of the first Picture Gallery on November 26, 1939 meant actually the opening of the first museum of Bassarabian fine art. In the future its successor becomes National Art Museum of Moldova. In the first days of war the art pieces displayed in the Gallery, together with others donated by the Ministry of Culture and Cults of Romania were loaded into two lorries and delivered to Harkov. Unfortunately the destiny of these collections remains unknown until present. By the end of 1944 the museum begins its activity by opening permanent exhibitions representing works of Western Europe, Russian and Soviet artists. The exhibition was based on the funds donated by Tretiakov Gallery and Hermitage. Among the most representative works donated to the museum in 1944-1950 there could be mentioned: Young Lady Bathing by Zinaida Serebriakova, Head of a boy by Alexandr Ivanov, Portrait of G. Proshinskaia by Boris Kustodiev, works by Western Europe masters of 16th-18th century.
Time passing by the collection of the museum was enriched by old icons, works of Bassarabian, Russian, Western Europe, Japanese, Indian, China masters. By the end of 1972 it increased ten times and counted 8000 art pieces.
A special attention was paid to acquisitions from private collectors of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 1975 there were acquired works by Orest Kiprenski Girl with fruits, Vladimir Makovski At the inn, prints by Albrecht Durer, Willam Hogarth, Giorgio Vasari, K. Kolvitz, Nikolai Utkin, Valentin Serov, Filip Maliavin and many others.
Several private collections were donated. In 1947 in accordance with the last will of Pavel Shilingovski, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Petersburg, Chisinau was donated a large collection of graphic works of European and Russian masters of 17th-19th centuries as well as his own works.
In 1962 the museum was donated the collection of Auguste Bayllaire, painter and ex professor at Ecolle de Belle Arte of Chisinau. He was the founder of museum’s collection but he also donated an important range of 340 works created by great Bassarabian and strange artists as well as his personal archive.
Other donations were made by S. Croitor-Phakadze (Moscow, 1967), V. Blinova (Bucarest, 1979), V. Blinov (1979), A. Ostap (1995).
At present the funds of National Art Museum of Moldova count more than 39 000 art works and reflects the evolution of arts in the 15th-21st centuries.