The abbreviation SVU stands for Spolek výtvarných umělců, in English Association of Visual Artists. The association united Czech artists and organised various exhibitions of international art.
From the 1920s many Czech architects were also members. In addition, well-known international architects were also members, such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius.
The communist government banned the association in 1956. It was re-established in 1990, and until 2013 first the son and then the grandson of Otakar Novotný, the chairman of the association in the interwar period, held the same position. Today, the seat of the association and the exhibition rooms are located at Lazarská Street 82/1.