An exhibition of photographs of the internationally renowned author Bohumil Hrabal is currently on show at Lucerna Café in Prague. The collection of photos was taken by the Czech-born documentary filmmaker and photographer Jan Kaplan, based in London, who became friends with Hrabal in the 1990s, after giving him a tour of London. I spoke to him on the phone to London to find out more about how had come to befriend and photograph a man who valued his privacy and who rarely allowed strangers into his chosen circle of friends.
A Prague court will on Wednesday start deliberations about the future of the famous series of paintings by Alphonse Mucha, the Slav Epic. Mucha’s grandson has brought proceedings on the grounds that Prague City Hall has broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition for the Czech people. Grandson John Mucha is protesting the fact no such site has still been found and that the city plans to loan them on an Asia tour due to start next month.
Pioneers and Robots is the title of a new book focusing on the golden era of Czechoslovak illustration, which was recently released by the Paseka publishing house. Written by two graphic artists, the book offers an in-depth account of the development of visual arts in Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover in 1948.
Prague City Hall says it may have found a suitable exhibition space for Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic, a cycle of 20 outsize canvases depicting the history and mythology of the Slav peoples. According to the ctk news agency Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová has approved a site in Těsnov, in Prague 8, where an exhibition center would be erected for the paintings. The decision still has to be approved by the Prague City Council. Alfons Mucha regarded the Slav epic as his lifetime achievement and dedicated the series of paintings to the city of Prague in 1928 on condition that a suitable place in the capital was found to exhibit them. For many years Prague was unable to fulfil this condition and the paintings resided at the castle of Moravský Krumlov.
The Czech art market has seen a record-breaking year, with the overall turnover at Czech auction houses exceeding 1.2 billion crowns, the ctk news agency reports. Compared to last year this is an increase by 331 million crowns, or 36 percent. The billion crown mark was crossed due to a number of exceptional sales at auctions at home and abroad. A painting by František Kupka broke the Czech art auction record, selling for 62 million crowns (around 2.29 million euros) at an auction in November and another painting by the same artist also set an international record, when it sold in Sweden for nearly 70 million crowns. Auctions of works by Oskar Kokoschka, Josef Šíma, Josef Čapek and Jan Zrzavý also contributed to the record turnover.
The Czech art market saw another record-breaking year in 2016. Although final data for the past year are not yet available, it is clear that the overall turnover at Czech auction houses will exceed one billion crowns. The favorable result was affected by a number of record-breaking sales both at Czech auctions and abroad. A painting by František Kupka broke the Czech art auction record, selling for 62 million crowns (around 2.29 million euros). Another painting by the same artist also set an international record, when it sold in Sweden for nearly
When Slovak businessman Richard Galovič acquired the Favorit brand name of former Czechoslovakia’s famous but long defunct bike producer, some wondered whether it wasn’t a mistake. Since, Galovič has proven doubters wrong, now producing and selling luxury city bicycles under the Favorit name in the Czech Republic and abroad. At a glance the retro-style bike appears unassuming but in fact it is full of surprises, boasting top craftsmanship and top materials such as a carbon fibre frame. The bike you can buy today is certainly not your grandad’s Favorit,
The Belda family are famous Prague jewellers who are the only ones certified to oversee the upkeep of the Czech crown jewels; recently, the youngest designer in the family, Viktorie Beldová, made headlines for a crown completed as part of her Masters thesis at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. She was inspired by the story of Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, who grew up in Prague in the 1960s. Her initial aim was to eventually gift the monarch with the crown, which proved more difficult than expected.
In the first half of the 20th century Czechoslovakia was at the forefront of design, from architecture to furniture production. But a new publication by Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM) together with Academia, makes the case that good design survived in pockets even under socialism. The book, entitled Design in the Czech Lands 1900 – 2000, featuring hundreds of reproductions was co-edited by UPM’s Iva Knoblochová. She told me how plans for the ambitious book came together.
A painting by Czech 20th century painter Jan Zrzavý has sold at auction in Prague for almost CZK 13 million. Field on Ile de Sein II became the second most expensive work by the artist in the sale held by the Dorotheum auction house. Zrzavý’s painting was well received at a 1934 exhibition organised by Czechoslovak arts association Umělecká beseda before also finding success at an international show in Brussels the following year.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Communist party official shocks nation ahead of freedom celebrations
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Cold War “king of Šumava” story brought to life in new film by Irish director