An oil painting by Oscar Kokoschka entitled Prague – View from the
Monastery of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star was auctioned off for
78.5 million crowns on Sunday, the most paid for any single painting in
auction, according to Alena Havlíková from the Adolf Loos Apartment and
Kokoschka painted the oil on canvas in the late summer of 1934 and it is considered the best of his Prague views. His depiction of Charles Bridge (1934) is in the National Gallery in Prague, while his Hradčany and Petřín (1936) are part of the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.
The works of one of the most important painters of the 20th century rarely appear at auctions, so its appearance at a Prague auction was a rare opportunity for art collectors.
Prague galleries are for the first time hosting exhibitions by art
institutions from other countries as part of the international project
Friend of a Friend, iDnes.cz reported. In the course of the three-day
event, which ends on Sunday, galleries such as Berlinskej Model, Hunt
Kastner, Lítost, Polansky Gallery and Lucie Drdova Gallery are showing
works by around 30 artists from a number of European states.
Organisers say the project is intended to boost awareness of the current state of the Prague gallery scene within the European context.
The annual nationwide Festival of Museum Nights, during which museums and cultural institutions around the country organize special events and late-night opening hours for visitors, is traditionally preceded by a gala ceremony at which the Czech Association of Museums and Galleries hands out Gloria Musaealis awards in different categories. The award ceremony took place in Prague’s Municipal House on Thursday night and carried a special significance for the winners.
A new guide to Prague, called Curator, attempts to show the city to locals and tourists in a different light. A group of three art historians have handpicked the best of Prague galleries, contemporary spaces, paintings and sculptures, art cafés and art in the streets and interviewed people who have something to say about them. Instead of the traditional sights and overpriced tourists traps, Curator invites its users to discover interesting, and lesser-known places lying off the beaten tourist track.
An auction at the Kodl art gallery sold items to the tune of 220 million
crowns on Sunday. According to the gallery it was the second most
successful art auction in the history of the Czech Republic.
The item sold for the highest price was a painting by Josef Čapek (Two Men) which was auctioned off for 13.9 million crowns. Another of Čapek’s paintings - Girls Getting Milk –sold for 10. 8 million. Antonín Procházka’s Bouquet in a Pitcher was the only other item to cross the ten million mark.
The Vltava River at Prague’s Mánes exhibition hall turned blood-red on Monday afternoon, after activists from an art group calling themselves Bolt958 poured an unknown substance into the water. The group charged that the famous art gallery “was bleeding”. The protest was over how the space, in their view, is being misused.
The Czech National Gallery is to get a permanent piece by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei from next year, the institution’s director, Jiří Fajt, said on Tuesday. The courtyard of the gallery’s Kinský Palace building on Prague’s Old Town Square will be home to the artist’s Bicycle Chandelier, a large piece made from Chinese bicycles that has previously seen at other venues in Europe. The National Gallery’s Trade Fair Palace at present houses Ai Weiwei’s enormous site specific work Law of the Journey, a recreation of a refugee boat that draws attention to the migrant crisis, and last year showed his Zodiac Heads.
The government has approved Culture Ministry plans to provide tens of millions of crowns in state funds for largely regional galleries and museums to acquire Czech as well as international contemporary artwork produced over the last 50 years. The acquisition fund, to be overseen by a nine-member board, would allocate tens of millions of crowns to help fill gaps in state collections of work by key artists, for one reason or another, have been under-represented.
The National Gallery in Prague has selected a new security agency and is likely to sign a new contract soon on the guarding of its buildings and collections, the gallery’s director Jiří Fajt told the Czech News Agency, adding that the gallery premises would re-open on Tuesday. The new contract will be signed for one year only and the National Gallery in the interim will prepare new a tender for security services. The National Gallery had to unexpectedly close its premises during the weekend due to its dispute with the ABAS IPS Management security agency that had withdrawn from a contract. The agency, in charge of security at the National Gallery since October 2016, claims that it is owed money by the institution.