Josef Čapek: Eight Linocuts, 100 Years

11. 9. – 12. 10. 2019

FREE GUIDED TOURS in Czech Language
We cordially invite you to join Zdeněk Sklenář as he leads you through the exhibition
5 October 2019 at 11 am
Due to limited capacity, please confirm your participation by sending an email at least 5 days before the event starts:  

The third exhibition at Galerie Zdeněk Sklenář is Josef Čapek: Eight Linocuts, 100 Years. This relates to one of the most valuable series in Czech graphic art history. Made in 1919, the series has never been comprehensively presented. The Eight Linocuts album is the first result of Čapek’s collaboration with Josef Florian’s publishing house in Stará Říše. Josef Florian and Bohuslav Reynek established contact with Čapek towards the end of 1917 in connection with his first literary work, Lelio, and also noticed his graphic works published in the Die Aktion revue. Reynek was so impressed by the linocuts Čapek made to accompany Apollinaire’s Zone, that he asked the artist to illustrate his translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, which was due to be published by Stará Říše. Subsequently, in early 1919, Čapek offered Florian several graphic works in the event that they might be a suitable artistic accompaniment to the Nova et vetera anthologies, but Florian actually compiled them in a separate album that was published as a Dobré dílo (Good Works) edition. Specifically, they consist of figural motifs, many of them containing references to the best-know works of Cubist painting.
In spring 1919, Josef Čapek wrote to the publisher Josef Florian: “I am sending you several carvings, all of which are for you, but select only those that you would like for your publication and dispose of the rest. I was limited by the fairly small format; I made those tiny birds just in case you needed something to fill in empty space below a poem, or other similar cases. So please feel free to do with these carvings as you see fit and according to how best they suit your needs; I will send you some more later…”

According to the gallerist Zdeněk Sklenář: “The series is legendary chiefly from literature and individual specimens appear only rarely. They are a part of our history and belong to the main series dating back to when Czechoslovakia was first established. He goes on to add: “They are also my personal contribution and thanks to all those who keep these rarest of jewels in their entirety.”