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Guide de voyage de l’avant-garde tchèque

Exhibition from April 28th to October 15th 2022
Since the end of the 19th century, Czech artists have been constantly drawn to the City of Light. For them, it was a question of rubbing shoulders with modernity as well as finding recognition in this center of the art world. They frequented the latest artistic movements – from the Barbizon School to Surrealism – and the artists they had heard of, already famous through Czech publications. Paris, the capital of liberty, was also vital for their own creation.

1 – Ladislav Novak
Vanity Fair, 1952
Watercolor, alchemy and India ink on paper
31,5 x 23,5 cm

2 – František Foltýn
Composition, 1927
Oil on canvas
74 x 93 cm

To leave for France, as Vera Linhartová wrote, was to leave “her Bohemian pond” for the ocean.Following the establishment of the communist regime in February 1948, and the Soviet invasion of August 1968, Paris became a safe haven for many. Some, like Alfons Mucha, stayed in Paris for long periods before returning to Czechoslovakia. Others only stayed for short spells, as in the case of legendary artists František Tichý and Jan Zrzavý.

Finally, there were those who settled permanently in France following the dramatic historical events that tore Central Europe apart: František Kupka, Josef Šíma, Toyen and Jindřich Heisler, joined by younger ones – Otto Mizera or Jan Krížek – were among those who stayed, as were, after 1968, Irena Dedicova, Jirí Kolár, Bela Kolárová and many others.

It is interesting to note that many Francophiles remained fascinated by their stay or by French influences: this was the case for František Foltýn, Adolf Hoffmeister, František Muzika, Ladislav Novak… Many of the artists presented here actively participated in the creative effervescence they encountered in Paris, and their contribution to certain avant- garde movements was fundamental, whether Cubism, Abstraction-Création, Surrealism or the Grand Jeu. The major retrospectives devoted to Kupka and Toyen bear witness to this. The most appreciated Czech artists often have a “French history”. The Prague-Paris exhibition pays tribute to them here.


Adolf Hoffmeister
Pablo Picasso lit Le Canard enchaîné, 1965
India ink, watercolor and collage on paper
31 x 22 cm

Jindrich Štyrský
Le beau jambon, 1934
38 x 28 cm

Champ de tir, 1939-1940
Cycle of twelve drawings, Zincography, letterpress printing, hand-colored prints
32 x 44 cm

František Foltýn
Composition, 1927
Oil on canvas, 74 x 93 cm

Josef Šíma
Bassin de La Villette, 1922
Pencil on paper
62 x 48 cm

Bela Kolarova
Sans titre, 1962
Photogram, silver print
15,4 x 18 cm

Jiri Kolar
Autoportrait, 1980
Creasing on offset printing
25 x 25 cm

František Kupka
L’Enfer, 1902
India ink, charcoal, blue pencil on paper
38 x 31 cm

Ladislav Novak
Vanity Fair, 1952
Watercolor, alchemy and India ink on paper
31,5 x 23,5 cm

Irena Dedicova
La Peur, 1966
Mixed media on rhodoid
38 x 38 cm


František Kupka

Josef Šima

František FOLTÝN (1891, Královské Stachy – 1976 (Brno)
František MUZIKA (1900, Prague – 1974, Prague)
Adolf HOFFMEISTER (1902, Prague – 1973, Říčky v Orlických horách)
Jindřich ŠTYRSKÝ (1899 Čermná u Kyšperka – 1942 Prague)
TOYEN (1902, Prague – 1980, Paris)
Jindřich HEISLER (1914, Chrast, 1953, Paris)
Otta MIZERA (1919, Prague – 1953, Paris)
Jan KŘÍŽEK (1919, Dobroměřice – 1985, Tulle)
Jiří KOLÁŘ (1914, Protivín – 2002, Prague)
Běla KOLÁŘOVÁ (1923 Terezín – 2010, Prague)
Ladislav NOVÁK (1924, Turnov – 1999, Třebíč)
Irena DĚDIČOVÁ (1932, Prague – 1987, Paris)