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Lyubomir Dalchev. A Relentless Spirit. 120 Years Since the Artist’s Birth

Sofia City Art Gallery

Lyubomir Dalchev. A Relentless Spirit. 120 Years Since the Artist’s Birth
From June 15 to September 6, 2022

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary Bulgarian sculptor Lyubomir Dalchev. To celebrate the occasion, the Sofia City Art Gallery will be presenting two exhibitions: one on its premises and another one at the Vaska Emanuilova Gallery. Putting up the exhibitions at two venues helps reveal different aspects of the artist’s diverse work.

The SCAG exhibition features 40 artworks showcasing the two periods of Lyubomir Dalchev’s career as an artist. They reveal the development of his personal style. The notable sculptor’s story is complemented by documentaries about his life and work, as well as by video installations created specifically for the exhibition concerning monuments and decorative monumental artworks created through the decades of his career. A story that is hard to reconstruct for various reasons, namely artworks having gone missing, unpublished or having been destroyed.

The exhibition at the Vaska Emanuilova Gallery is entitled The story Goes On… and it offers viewers the opportunity to see photographs from the artist’s studio, unfinished projects, documents and archive material, smaller scale works and drawings that were never on exhibit.

Halfway between the two galleries, in the space between the St. Sofia Church and the Central Military Club, is located the only outdoor sculpture gallery in Bulgaria which was started in 1974. The featured sculptures are by Lyubomir Dalchev and they constitute part of the SCAG permanent collection. Works of his are also on exhibit in the space around the Sofia City Art Gallery, in the Prince’s Garden, the park by the Academy of Art in Sofia, and other venues.

The anniversary will also be commemorated with a publication featuring an album, the artist’s biography and a catalogue of his work. The publication constitutes the first systematization of the artist’s voluminous work and the second monograph about him, the first one being a study published in 1942.

The exhibition was organized in partnership with the Archives State Agency, and in cooperation with the National Gallery of Art, the Union of Bulgarian Artists, Pancho Vladigerov Home and Museum, City of Panagyuriste History Museum, City of Sevlievo History Museum, the Kazanlak City Art Gallery, Boris Georgiev Varna City Art Gallery, the Stara Zagora City Art Gallery, Iliya Beshkov Pleven City Art Gallery, Ivan Funev Vratsa City Art Gallery, and private collectors.

The publication was made with support from the National Fund for Culture

Curators: Adelina Fileva, Galina Dekova, Krasimir Iliev

Associates: Ivaylo Avramov, Ognyan Hristov and Diana Stoilova

Design of SCAG exhibition space and video installations: Venelin Shurelov

Design of Vaska Emanuilova Gallery exhibition space and promotional material: Nadezhda Oled Lyahova

Restorers: Ilinka Chergarova, Milan Mihaylovich, Svetlana Hristova


Born in 1902 in Thessaloniki, having passed through the modern schools of Rome and Paris before he went to the USA where his life’s journey ended in 2002, Lyubomir Dalchev is a unique cosmopolitan figure in Bulgarian art. His career spans two contrasting, incompatible periods in the development of Bulgarian art, before and after 1944. He started his career as an artist during the 1930’s in the genre of painting. In the 1940’s, through the sculpture decoration of the Sofia Court House, he established himself as one of the most talented artists in the genre of monumental sculpture. Bringing together means of expression pertinent to realism, solid construction of the figure and the fine inner will of gesture and facial expression in the development of the architectural composition, the artist heralded the 1970’s theory of synthesis. After 1944, he created dozens of monuments, as well as memorial complexes (Plovdiv, town of Perustitsa, etc.). Works such as King Samuil’s Warriors, The Prodigal Son, Job, Mauthausen, reveal the artist’s ability to present the conflicts contemporary humans are torn by against the backdrop of the drama of historical developments. Through his art of extreme compassion, Dalchev laid the foundations of a new school in Bulgarian sculpture whose success was proved by the first works of his disciples (V. Minekov, G. Malakchiev, N. Terziev, I. Neshev, A. Kafedzhiiski, K. Damyanov and many others). His heritage and influence on a whole generation of artists, his awe-inspiring integrity as an autonomous artist are the reasons why modern Bulgarian sculpture and its development throughout the 20th century may be referred to as  The Century of Dalchev.