Valentin Držkovic / Coal Gleaner
Držkovic drew the preparatory sketches for the cycle — which includes the Coal Gleaner — before he left for France. He sketched the figures on the coal tip behind the municipal theatre (now the area of Black Meadow). He completed the cycle in Paris, where his wife Anuška modelled for him. Paris was enthralled by the scenery of Ostrava with its unique social bedrock full of poverty and human suffering, evidence of which is the fact that at the Salon des Indépendants Držkovic was awarded the painting prize out of several hundred contenders. Sadly he never returned to Paris. Over the years the quality of his work changed and was never to attain the success he had achieved among the French.