Monday, March 1, 2010

Czech graphic artists before WWI


As demonstrated in my last two posts, most Czech artists before WWI went on to further studies in Germany or Austria. Therefore the influence of teachers such as Doris Raab (Munich), William Unger (Vienna), Peter Halm (Munich) and Alois Kolb (Leipzig), is strongly felt in their work.
Czech interest in the graphic arts was reaching a peak in the years before WWI. If none of the selection of Czech artists who follow achieved the international renown of their compatriots Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) and František Kupka (1871-1957), their work is nonetheless full of interest.

Hermine Laukota, Der Mikroskopiker
Etching, 1892

Hermine Laukota, Interior of a Synagogue
Etching, 1906

Hermine Laukota, Kinderköpfchen
Etching, 1907

The only woman among them, Hermine Laukota (1853-1931), was born in Prague. Hermine Laukota studied etching under Doris Raab and William Unger. Her early career went well, and she exhibited in Vienna in 1889 and in Berlin in 1891. After her return to Prague, her story becomes less easy to track. I’m not even sure if Hermine Laukota was Jewish, though the choice of the interior of a synagogue as the subject of one of my etchings suggests so.

Joža Úprka, Pfingstreiter
Etching, 1907

The painter and printmaker Joža Úprka (1861-1940) was born in Knĕždub and died in Hroznova. He studied at the Prague Academy (where he learned etching from Eduard Karel), and the Munich Academy. His brother Franta Úprka was a noted sculptor.

Rudolf Jettmar, Nacht und Träume
Etching with aquatint, 1907

Rudolf Jettmar (1869-1939) was born in Zawodzie, and died in Vienna. He studied at the academies in Vienna and Karlsruhe, therefore coming under the influence of teachers such as William Unger and Leopold von Kalckreuth. Rudolf Jettmar was a member of the Vienna Secession from 1898. The luxurious decadence of my etching by Jettmar (which comes from the series Stunden der Nacht) reminds me of the work of Alois Kolb, and I wouldn’t be surprised to discover some connection between the two; perhaps, though, it is simply case of shared influences.

August Brömse, Eine Todte
Etching with aquatint, 1902

August Brömse (1873-1925) was born in Frantiskovy Làzne, and died in Prague. Brömse studied in Prague and Berlin, where he came strongly under the influence of Max Klinger. This influence can be seen in my etching, which is part of August Brömse’s mordidly erotic 1902 series Death and the Maiden, inspired by  sense of doomed love for the opera singer Elsa Schünemann. Brömse and Schünemann married in 1910, when August Brömse was head of the print studio at the Prague Academy. My etching by August Brömse is known in English as An Old Song; it is reproduced as plate 258 in Otto M. Urban’s intriguing-sounding study In Morbid Colors: Art and the Idea of Decadence in the Bohemian Lands 1880-1914 (2006).

Viktor Stretti, Überschwemmung
Etching, 1899

Viktor Stretti, Untitled landscape
Aquatint, 1904

Viktor Stretti (1878-1957) was born in Plasy. Stretti studied at the Prague Academy and at the Munich Academy, where he learned etching from Peter Halm. After a short time in Paris, Viktor Stretti settled in Prague in 1901.

9 comments:

Roxana said...

you know, i've just returned from Paris but i missed this exhibition that i would have wanted to see so very much:

http://www.museemaillol.com/

August Brömse's work should have been shown there, i am mesmerized. yet Stretti's landscapes are also wonderful.

thank you so much, Neil...

Neil said...

It's so annoying when you realize you have missed an exhibition you could easily have seen! I hope you had a great time in Paris anyway, Roxana. I found the rest of Brömse's darkly brooding Death and the Maiden cycle posted somewhere on the web.

Jonquil said...

I've just returned from Prague with some original art painted on the end paper of an old book, by an Englishman, JM.
Not exactly print, but interesting and curious.

Neil said...

I'm always intrigued by bits of art or writing on the endpapers of books, or letters and ephemera tucked inside them.

Jonquil said...

I guess I should add that JM made two sketchbooks of World War I that are now online.

Neil said...

Those WWI sketchbooks look fascinating, Jonquil. Have you been in touch with the curators at the University of Victoria? I bet they'd love to see another example of the elusive JM's work.

Michal Š. said...

Hermine Laukota (Laukotová) was not Jewish, but purely German origin, although her name Laukota implicates some Czech roots.

She was member of Society of German woman painters, which was in 1939 forced to suspend Jewish members, and Hermine was not among suspended fellows.

Michal Š. said...

Hermine Laukota (Laukotová) was not Jewish, but purely German origin, although her name Laukota implicates some Czech roots.

She was member of Society of German woman painters, which was in 1939 forced to suspend Jewish members, and Hermine was not among suspended fellows.

Neil said...

Thanks for this information, Michal.