The exhibition pavilion of Franc Novak, forerunner to the Murska Sobota Gallery, organised the first Biennial of Small Sculpture in 1973, initially as a Yugoslav exhibition. During the 1990s it grew into an international event similar to the biennials in Padova, Budapest and Stuttgart, all of which presented sculpture of small and intimate dimensions.
The 14th Biennial of 1999 in Murska Sobota was cancelled and in 2001 the 1st European Triennial of Small Sculpture took place instead. The Biennial Committee (comprising Franc Obal, Aleksander Bassin, Franc Mesarič, Dr. Laszlo Beke and Dr. Cristoph Brockhaus, a director of Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum and Duisburg Center for European Modern Sculpture) conceived the new event in line with the theme of architectural sculpture, or rather as a dialogue between big and small, between architecture and sculpture.
The 1st Triennial presented 30 works by authors from nine countries: Slovenia (Slavko Tihec, Jože Plečnik), Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Hungary, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Romania. In the 2nd Triennial of 2004, organised under the theme The Renaissance of the Human Statue, artistic director and curator Christoph Brockhaus presented 29 artists from 24 countries, including Boštjan Drinovec from Slovenia. The third one was selected by prof. Thomas Deecke, art historian and former director of the New Weserburg Museum in Bremen under the title Joke, satire, irony and deeper meaning.
At each Triennial a jury bestows honourable mentions and purchases award-winning works. In this way the permanent collection of small sculpture has been developing at the Murska Sobota Gallery.