Bohumil Kubišta represents a founder personality of the Czech modern painting of European significance. Although he died prematurely in only thirty four years he left behind a vast work of painting and art criticism, intensity and range of which is still astonishing. The exhibition covers him in all important stages as a distinctive personality and a solitary figure. He has greatly transcended the efforts of the young generation he arose from. Although Kubišta was a member of Osma (“Eight”) he was keeping his own approach, for which he found a far better reception in the abroad than in his home Bohemia while he was alive. His work was growing out of the current art like a supportive, steep but unattainable pillar. Since his early stay in Florence (1906-1907) he began to contemplate the internal composition of artistic work that was based on knowledge of the contemporary streams and older art. He was following his own independent path that brought him to milestone artistic successes after two stays in Paris in 1909 and 1910. Almost every one of his paintings created after 1910 became an event. The paintings from years 1910 to 1915 are landmarks of not only their epoch but they set the standard for the whole 20th century. Few authors could keep up to this standard. The unexpected death of Kubišta in 1918 has robbed our art of a most seminal personality. The first posthumous exhibition of Kubišta in 1920 met with an unusual reception with a young generation, the authors coming forth after 1919, many of which became later members of Děvetsil (“Butterbur”) and Nová skupina (“New Group”). Kubišta was jointly claimed to be “John the Baptist” of the Czech modern painting. The next wave of interest in Kubišta’s works came in half of the 50s when his moral imperative started to be emphasized. In connection with a newly regenerating modern art it predominantly acquired the ethical dimension. Several principal thematic cores could be concluded from Kubišta’s work that still persist in the Czech art though they might have no direct references to his legacy. It is his relation to the golden ratio and colour contrast, to self-depiction, and loneliness. Kubišta directly influenced several authors who loosely interpreted some of his landmark paintings.
Chief Curator: Karel Srp
Exhibition Concept: Jiří Jůza, Jan Kudrna, Helena Musilová, Zuzana Novotná, Gabriela Pelikánová, Karel Srp
Texts: Jiří Jůza, Jan Kudrna, Helena Musilová, Zuzana Novotná, Gabriela Pelikánová, Karel Srp
Architectural design: Tomáš Svoboda
Graphic design: Libor Jelínek, Dynamo design
Realisation: Dominika Dworoková, Zdeněk Fedák, Ctirad Janečka, Jiří Jůza, Jan Kudrna, Josef Mladějovský, Gabriela Pelikánová, Renata Skřebská, Vladimír Šulc
Promotion: Ian Derson Advertising, Kateřina Naarová, Jana Šrubařová
Guided Tours: Jan Kudrna, Gabriela Pelikánová, Renata Skřebská, Karel Srp
Educational programmes: Marcela Pelikánová, Jana Sedláková
Translation: Anna Strnadová
Thanks go to all institutions and private collectors who participate in the exhibition:
Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in Hluboká nad Vltavou, Art Gallery Praha, City Gallery Prague, Gallery Kodl, Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové, Gallery of Modern Art Roudnice nad Labem, Petr Novotný Gallery, Pictura Gallery,The Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, Gallery of Fine Arts in Karlovy Vary, Gallery of Fine Arts in Cheb, Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery in Prague, Zlatá husa Gallery, Gema Art Group, Hunt Kastner Gallery, Regional Gallery of Fine Art in Zlín, Miroslav Korecký, obchod s uměním v Praze, Museum Kampa – The Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, The City Museum of Brno, Olomouc Museum of Art, Museum of Eastern Bohemia in Hradec Králové, National Gallery in Prague, Moravian Gallery in Brno, Regional Art Gallery in Liberec, Regional Art Gallery Vysočina in Jihlava, Museum of Czech Literature, Prinz Prager Gallery, Regional Museum in Kolín, Richard Adam Gallery, North Bohemian Gallery of Fine Art in Litoměřice, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Vítkovice Machinery Group, East-Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice, West-Bohemian Gallery in Plzeň, Jewish Museum in Prague and private collectors.