Monday, July 5, 2010

Jan Zrzavý

Jan Zrzavý (1890-1977),  an important protagonist of the Czech avantgarde, was born near Německý Brod in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic). He studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, was a founding member of art group Sursum, and a member of many important artists' associations and societies. 

 Jan Zrzavý, Kavárna, 1923
He first visited France in 1907, returning to Paris and Brittany frequently until 1939, but maintaining close links to his homeland. The first period of his work (The Valley of Sadness, Nocturne, Suffering) combined the symbolism of  Czech Art Nouveau with expressionism enriched by cubistic elements. Zrzavý was influenced and inspired by Italian Renaissance, namely by Raffael and Leonardo. 

 Jan Zrzavý, Melancholy, 1920

After World War I, Zrzavý's works expressed lyrical and soft dreamlike contours as shown in the above Melancholy. From 1947 to 1950 Zrzavý was an associate professor at Olomouc University . Later he maintained private studios in Prague and Okrouhlice. He was increasingly recognized on a national and international level in the 1950s and 1960s, and was honoured a title of a National Artist in 1965. He was admired by one of the founders of the Czech surrealistic movement, Karel Teige. Jan Zrzavý died in Prague on October 12, 1977.

Jan Zrzavý, Veles, 1929

You can see more works of him here on my Flickr Page.

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