The Collection of Prints and Drawings of the National Gallery in Prague has prepared two noticeable summer exhibitions displaying works of the most distinguished artists of Modernism.


The exhibition entitled “Unexpected Bequest / Šíma, Štyrský, Toyen, Zrzavý…” will be presented in the Kinský Palace Stables in the Old Town Square in the summer. This unique collection was bequeathed to the National Gallery in Prague by Dr. Alena Žižková-Lindt. The convolute of paintings and works on paper is rather homogeneous in its contents and demonstrates the collectorʼs fondness for artists linked with France, among them the Surrealists Toyen and Jindřich Štyrský, Josef Šíma, Jan Matulka, the painter of Bretaigne, Jan Zrzavý, Rudolf Kremlička, František Tichý, František Muzika and the Spanish artist Honorio Garcia Condoy. 

 

The Trade Fair Palace in Prague will offer visitors a collection of Josef Šíma's preparatory drawings and final prints which were used to illustrate the collection of poems Paradise Lost by P. J. Jouve. The genesis of the collection was quite complex and took as long as eleven years. The first drawings and prints were created by Šíma in 1927, but the collection was published the next year without them. The project of the illustrated album was realized only ten years later, in 1938. The separate graphic cabinet, entitled “Josef Šíma: Paradise Lost”, is installed on the third floor of the Trade Fair Palace.

Unexpected Bequest / Šíma, Štyrský, Toyen, Zrzavý...

Exhibition curator: Zuzana Novotná, Collection of Prints and Drawings of the NG
Exhibition catalogue: Zuzana Novotná (ed.)
Co-authors of the catalogue: Eva Bendová, Lenka Bydžovská, Helena Musilová, Lenka Pastyříková, Anna Pravdová, Tomáš Sekyrka, Karel Srp, Tomáš Winter 
Place: The Kinský Palace Stables
Duration: 30 May – 24 August 2014

In 2010, the National Gallery in Prague received an unexpected bequest in the form of more than twenty works of art by the foremost artists of Modernism. The unique convolute originates from the collection of Doctor Alena Žižková-Lind (1926–2009), who initially planned to bequeath it anonymously but, upon the advice of her friends, eventually admitted its ownership in her will. Her intention was only discovered during the probate proceedings after her death. The magnanimity of such an act is not seen too often, and the National Gallery in Prague thus decided to exhibit Ms Žižková-Lind’s collection not only with concern to its unique character but also out of gratitude for such a generous gesture. The appreciation brought to the Gallery not only ensues from the physical presence of the works but also from the ethical dimension of the donation itself. Alena Žižková-Lind followed in the tradition of the great donors, which is not very common nowadays.

The unexpected donation of paintings and works on paper is rather homogeneous in its contents and reveals the collector’s fondness for artists with links to France, among them the Surrealists Toyen and Jindřich Štyrský, Josef Šíma, Jan Matulka, the painter of Bretaigne, Jan Zrzavý, Rudolf Kremlička, František Tichý, František Muzika and the Spanish artist Honorio Garcia Condoy. Some works have retained a note on their interesting provenance or the place of their display. For example, the drawing by Preisler came from the collection of the psychoanalyst and Surrealist Bohuslav Brouk and the Kremlička drawing originates from the property of Rudolf Špála, brother of the leading Czech painter Václav Špála. The drawings by Jindřich Štyrský and the paintings by Toyen are known to have been exhibited in 1938 and 1945 in the prestigious Topič Salon in Prague. The works by Oto Janeček and Jindřich Wielgus provide the collection a unique character as a secret in the life of Alena Žižková-Lindt which is inappropriate to reveal.

Josef Šíma: Paradise Lost

Exhibition curator: Anna Pravdová, Collection of Prints and Drawings of the NG
Place: The Trade Fair Palace
Duration: 29 April – 17 August 2014

Josef Šíma (1891–1971), a painter of Czech origin who settled in France at the age of thirty, had a lifelong close relation to poetry and was friends with many poets. These friendships in many cases developed into creative cooperation. The decisive aspect to Šíma was his encounter with the young poets Roger Gilbert Lecomte and René Daumal, with whom he established the art group Le Grand jeu (The Great Game). Later, a significant role in Šíma’s life was played by many other artists, among them the Frenchman, Pierre Jean Jouve. During the 1920s and 1930s, Šíma illustrated several of his books and their cooperation climaxed in 1938 with Šíma’s drawings to Jouve’s collections Paradise Lost and Kyrie.

The Graphic Cabinet presents a collection of preparatory drawings and final prints to the collection of poems Paradise Lost. The genesis of the collection was quite complex and took eleven years. The first drawings and prints were created by Šíma in 1927, but the collection was published the next year without them. The project of the illustrated album was realized as much as ten years later, in 1938. The original group of drawings from the 1920s was at that time added to by Šíma with several other sheets, especially the frontispiece to the entire collection. He created the total of 17 preparatory drawings, 12 of which were transformed into the medium of etching.

Illustration is not an isolated chapter in Šíma’s oeuvre; instead, it forms a remarkably organic whole with his paintings. Many features which first appeared in his illustrations then fluently passed onto Šíma’s paintings. This is also the case of the characteristic motif of a female nude turned away from the viewers, which first appeared in Šíma’s drawings to Paradise Lost and then in several of his canvases (e.g., The Despair of Orpheus, 1942) and accompanied his oeuvre as late as to the 1960s. The close connection between the works by Šíma and Jouve was aptly described by Věra Linhartová as follows: “Jouve’s poems bear the colour of Šíma’s paintings, while Šíma’s paintings are often the embodiments of Jouve’s poetic imagery.”

Main media partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Česká televize
Media partners of the National Gallery in Prague:
Český rozhlas, Prague Events Calendar, Anopress IT, Classic FM
Partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Railreklam
Technology partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Samsung

 

Admission to the exhibition “Unexpected Bequest: Šíma, Štyrský, Toyen, Zrzavý...”
The Kinský Palace Stables, TheOld Town Square 12, 110 15, Prague 1

basic: 50 CZK
reduced: 30 CZK
families: 70 CZK

 

Admission to the exhibition “Josef Šíma: Paradise Lost” (as part of admission to the Trade Fair Palace)

The Trade Fair Palace, Dukelských hrdinů 47, 170 00 Prague7

basic: 200 CZK
reduced: 100 CZK
families: 250 CZK

 

Press release of 29 May 2014


CONTACT FOR JOURNALISTS:        
Eva Kolerusová, press spokeswoman, phone: +420 222 321 459, gsm: +420 724 501 535
e-mail: kolerusova@ngprague.cz

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Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries
Dukelských hrdinů 47, Prague 7
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Exhibitions
Permanent exhibitions

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