Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Max Svabinsky

Max Švabinský (Czech, 1873-1962), born in Kromĕříž, was a contemporary and close ally of T. František Šimon. Both studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Art under Max Pirner, benefiting from the graphics teaching of J. Marák and E. Karel. In 1910, while Šimon was in Paris, Max Švabinský was appointed professor of graphic arts at the Prague Academy. I believe I am correct in saying that up until this time there had not been a dedicated graphic arts atelier at the Academy.

Max Švabinský, Grossmutter (Grandmother)
Etching, 1912

Although Max Švabinský was also a painter, he began to devote more and more time to graphics from around 1900. Švabinský is regarded as the founder of Czech modern art, introducing the influences of both Max Klinger and the German Symbolists, and Édouard Manet and the French Impressionists.

Max Švabinský, Untitled (Woman preparing for bed)
Colour lithograph, 1912

As the lithograph above shows, Max Švabinský also absorbed the influence of Bonnard, Vuillard, and the Nabis. In 1917 Max Švabinský and František Šimon founded the exclusive Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists, whose founding members were mostly students or ex-students of Švabinský’s.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Thanks for introducing us to these interesting Czechs. I especially like the Grandmother portrait.

Svabinsky had a long life, didn't he? What changes he saw, and what generations of wonderful Czech artists (Cubists, Orphists, Surrealists...) he must have taught and known.

Kittie Howard said...

I've had the good fortune to visit Prague (Praha) several times and am in awe of Czech contributions and innovations in the artistic field.

Neil said...

Philip - I've noticed that many printmakers live to a venerable age. Certainly Svabinsky's life encompassed tumultuous changes in both art and politics.

Kittie - I've just added a post about a few more Czech artists of this same period, and hope you'll enjoy it.

Jane Librizzi said...

"Grandmother" is very impressive in the way that everything, the folds of her garment, the background pattern, and the light from above all tend toward her wonderful face. This is beautiful.

Neil said...

Although it's called Grandmother, I believe the etching shows Svabinsky's mother, to whom he was very close.