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Kotik, Pravoslav

Pravoslav Kotik 1889 Slabce Tschechien 1970 Prag Im Atelier


1889 Slabce/Czech Republic - 1970 Prague

„In the Studio“
around 1945
lower left: "P. Kotik"
oil on canvas
40 ¼×35 ½ in

Czech 20th century art is a particularly interesting and complex chapter of modern painting. Due to the annexation to the Soviet Union in 1948, it was forgotten for a long time. Only the fall of the Iron Curtain led to a more liberal cultural awareness. The Czech avant-garde was once again made accessible to an international audience.

From 1900 to the late 1940s, Czech artists participated in the formulation of new artistic standards, as did protagonists in Paris or Berlin. They actively participated in exhibitions with international greats such as Picasso, Braque, Mondrian, Cézanne and many others in order to establish Prague as a European art center alongside Paris and Berlin.

Pravoslav Kotik is one of the most important artists of the Czech avant-garde. ”Let the object of our pictures be humans, and humans only“ – this sentence characterizes the pictorial theme of Kotik, who, however, throughout his life made room in his work for stylistic changes. He visited France repeatedly from 1924 to 1937, knew about international artistic developments and had a rich relevant library. His oeuvre is extensive: “I have loved Cézanne, Picasso and Braque. I was also influenced by Matisse, as well as by expressionism and dadaism.”

In 1939, Kotik was awarded a silver medal at the World Exhibition in Paris; this honor made him internationally famous, whereupon Kotik gave up his teaching profession and devoted himself entirely to painting. In addition to cubist elements, expressivity and colorfulness characterized his works. The paintings of the 1940s show figures whose bodies are formed from linear structures and geometric elements. ”They say, ‘Put a lot of people in one picture.‘ Not even Picasso uses more than two people; you are making a mistake if you want more than Picasso.“ In this creative phase Kotik sometimes uses kaleidoscopic effects, splitting individual parts of the picture into segments that are placed parallel or against each other. The end of the Second World War brings about an emotional change in his work, his paintings become clear in content and show the expression of a hopeful future.

”In the Studio“ – the master, smoking a pipe in conversation with a model or customer, behind him his studio space and through the open window a view of the outdoors – takes us directly into this era.

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