First Republic Artists

First Republic Artists

Follow in the footsteps of First Republic artists when in the Czech Republic and discover the places where František Kupka, Emil Filla and Jan Zrzavý used to create their works of art.

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You can find selected works by those artists in the collections of the Modern Arts Gallery in Hradec Králové, or in the Art Gallery in Ostrava. From mid-November 2018 to March 2019, you can visit an exhibition called Czech Artists in Bretagne (1850–1950) in the National Gallery in Prague. It maps the works of Czech artists who worked in Bretagne under the influence of distinct personalities of French art. The exhibition is displayed in Kinský Palace at the Old Town Square. And on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia (28/10/2018), a new exhibition, dedicated to the art of the First Republic (from 1918 to 1938) will open on the 3rd floor of the Fair Trade Palace.

František Kupka: founder of modern abstract art

František Kupka and his artwork went down in the history of the Czech and international art. Moreover, he is the most expensive Czech artist from the commercial point of view. Several of his paintings were sold for amounts exceeding CZK 50 million! František Kupka was born in East Bohemia, in the town of Opočno under the Orlické Mountains, where you can visit his birth house, decorated with a commemorative plaque and the artist’s bust. There are remarkable collections of Kupka’s paintings and drawings displayed in the Prague Kampa Museum and in the National Gallery in Prague. Furthermore, a special exhibition entitled František Kupka 1871–1957 will open there on 7 September. The exhibition was created in cooperation with French Reunion de musées nationaux Grand Palais and the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki.

Josef Čapek: the artist who created the word robot

Josef Čapek, the older brother of famous Czech writer Karel Čapek, was born into a physician’s family and lived in a spa home in Malé Svatoňovice by Trutnov in North Bohemia until he was three. Today, the house hosts the Museum of the Čapek Brothers, where you can see their family photographs, Karel’s school report, or Josef’s graphic art and oil paintings. The Double Villa of the Čapek Brothers in Prague in Vinohrady, built by architect Ladislav Machoň in 1923-1924, is also worth seeing. And one more interesting thing… Josef Čapek created the word “robot”. It has been borrowed by many languages all over the world and it is one of the most frequently used words in the field of modern technologies.

Toyen: the painter who had no competition

Toyen’s real name was Marie Čermínová. She is a distinguished personality of Czech culture, even though she spent most of her life in Paris. She is one of the most important and freest creative personalities in the art avant-garde from the beginning of the 20th century. Her paintings are today sold for millions in auction halls. You can see some of her work in Kinský Palace, the National Gallery in Prague starting mid-November 2018.

Jan Zrzavý: the legend that had to learn everything on his own

Jan Zrzavý, a distinguished personality of Czech art, managed to do a lot of things. Among others, he was an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, stage designer, and occasional journalist. The avant-garde representative from the beginning of the 20th century was a self-taught man – he tried to get into the Prague Academy four times, yet he did not succeed. Until 1 July 2018, you can visit the unique exhibition in the Prague Kampa Museum, where private collectors have lent some of Zrzavý’s works of art. You can learn more about the artist who became a living legend towards the end of his life in the Jan Zrzavý Memorial Hall in Krucemburk near Havlíčkův Brod.

Václav Špála: every Czech collector wants to own his artwork

The Czech academic artist, graphic designer and illustrator is very popular with collectors and is one of the most sought after modern Czech artists. Špála was a prominent artist and had a gallery named after him during his life. The Václav Špála Gallery is in Prague 1; unfortunately, the Gallery does not display any of Špála’s paintings.

Bohumil Kubišta: the strict theorist who succumbed to Spanish flu

The journey of the Czech artist, graphic designer and art theorist to art definitely was not easy. He was convinced that modern art was based on the principle “to understand and to fulfil the law”, just like historical styles. And thus his paintings were based on strict balancing of the individual formal elements. He joined the army for existential reasons. He survived the war but died of the Spanish flu shortly after it ended. He is buried in Hradec Králové and his grave is decorated by a monument by Czech sculptor František Bílek. You can see some of Kubišta’s works of art in the West Bohemian Gallery in Plzeň until 27 May.

Emil Filla: the personality of Czech cubism

The Czech cubist artist, graphic designer and sculptor is one of the most popular authors among contemporary art collectors. The manifold activity of Emil Filla substantially formed the direction of Czech cultural events shortly before WWI, and mainly in the interwar period. He was a universal artist who also worked as a diplomat in the Netherlands after the war. You can learn about Emil Filla on the second floor of the Chropyně Chateau, where the Kroměřížsko Museum opened a permanent exposition dedicated to this artist.