Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adolf Zdrazila

The Art Nouveau painter and printmaker Adolf Zdrazila (sometimes spelled Zdrasila) was born in 1868 in Poruba, in what is now the Moravian-Silesian district of the Czech Republic, but was then part of Austria-Hungary. Zdrazila was ethnically Hungarian but culturally Austrian. Zdrazila's father was a tailor who used to go to Italy for work, and it was seeing the art treasures of Italy that awoke a love of art in the young Adolf. Adolf Zdrazila studied at the fine art academies of Vienna (under Lichtenfels) and Karlsruhe (under Leopold von Kalckreuth, Kallmorgen, and Schönleber). After that he spent some time in Paris, Brussels and Holland, before returning to Silesia. Here he benefited from the patronage of his friend Edmund Wilhelm Braun, director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Troppau, who commissioned various decorative schemes. Zdrazila exhibited at the Troppauer Museum in 1897 and in 1902, in which year he also showed at the Salon Pisko in Vienna. Zdrazila's first prints were etchings, but he soon devoted himself to wood engraving, in both black-and-white and colour. He made his first colour wood engraving in 1900; his second was Zur Zeit der Heckenrosen sollt' ich seiner harren!, reproduced below. His colour wood engravings show the influence of Japanese prints. His black-and-white engraving Rübezahl depicts a trickster mountain spirit from Silesian folklore; Zdrazila planned a whole series of illustrations to the folktales about Rübezahl. Other typical motifs in the art of Adolf Zdrazila are pretty girls in romantic outdoor settings (see another charming one here), winter landscapes, and cottage interiors. There are works by Zdrazila in the Troppau Museum, in the Municipal Museum Vienna, and in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Adolf Zdrazila died in Troppau in 1942.

Adolf Zdrasila, Rübezahl
Wood engraving, 1908

Adolf Zdrasila, Zur Zeit der Heckenrosen sollt' ich seiner harren!
Wood engraving, c.1900

Adolf Zdrasila, Landscape with bridge
Wood engraving, 1904

Adolf Zdrasila, Winter
Wood engraving, 1904

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