fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

All Faces of František Kupka

František Kupka, Ballad (Joys of Life), 1901–1902, National Gallery Prague

Abstraction

All Faces of František Kupka

First time I came across František Kupka’s work was in the Centre Pompidou and I thought: “Wow, he was such an interesting guy and I never heard about him before!”. Not much has changed since then, I still think that Kupka was a fascinating person about whose art we should speak more often.

Symbolist Face

František Kupka, The Book Lover, 1897, Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Kupka was born in Bohemia region (today’s Czech Republic), which back then was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He first spent 3 years studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and then he moved to Vienna to study at Akademie der Bildenden Künste. It was 1892, a few years before Klimt announced the foundation of the Secession movement in 1897, yet one could already feel the ferment of change in the air. In these years Kupka created works in an Art Nouveau style which combined symbolism and naturalism.

Theosophic Face

František Kupka, The beginning of life, 1900, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris

Symbolism was just a step towards Kupka’s new transformation. He was a sensitive man who already in adolescence had been introduced to spiritual concepts about the cosmos by his employer, a saddle maker for whom Kupka worked as a teenager. The exploration of relationship between geometry and spirituality was one of the themes that dominated his life and work. Probably as early as 1894 he became involved in the Theosophic movement and was fascinated by Eastern philosophies. Two years later he moved to Paris to begin studies at Académie Julian.

Fauvist Face

František Kupka, Planes by Colours, Large Nude, 1910, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

As he moved to the centre of artistic universe, he began frequenting exhibitions. Undoubtedly, he saw works by Neo-Impressionists and Fauvists whose bright palette and dependence on colour as a means of expression inspired him to experiment with different styles. In the meantime, he did caricatures for various satirical magazines to pay his living. In this painting we see his muse and wife Eugénie, whose body is constructed solely by colours.

František Kupka, Family portrait, 1910, National Gallery Prague

Futurist Face

František Kupka, Madame Kupka between verticals, c.1911, MoMA

In 1909 the Italian Futurists published their first manifesto on the pages of French paper Le Figaro. He was deeply affected by their experiments with capturing movement in painting and sculpture, or re-inventing music, which corresponded with his own attempts at that and his theories on motion and colour, and the relationship between music and painting.

Orphic Face

František Kupka, Warm Chromatic, 1912, Museum Kampa, Prague

The invention of radiography at the turn of the century, Cubism and Robert Delaunay‘s creation of Orphism, was a threshold in Kupka’s search for an alternative dimension of reality. Through a kind of painterly X-ray vision he analysed movement and form, heading directly towards the only possible direction: the road of abstraction.

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

Comments

More in Abstraction

  • Impressionism

    Wagnerism in Art: Painting Music or Listening to Pictures

    By

    What is Wagnerism? There are perhaps no other cultural movements in the world that we have named after one person. Wagnerism was admiration for Wagner’s musical oeuvre, which originated in the second half of the 19th century. The attention directed at his music was so huge...

  • 19th Century

    The Musician, the Faun, and the Sunrise—Impressionism in Three Arts

    By

    What do you get when you add some light, some inspiration, and some musical color? You get the recipe for cutting-edge content that will change how the world thinks about art. Read on for an illustration—an impression, if you will—of how artists build on each other’s...

  • 19th Century

    The State Russian Museum Highlights

    By

    The State Russian Museum is the country’s first museum of Russian fine art. It represents the history of Russian culture for more than a thousand years and contains a collection of more than 400,000 objects. We collected the highlights of the Russian art kept in The...

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: John William Waterhouse, Miranda

    By

    Miranda, from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is the subject of a painting by John William Waterhouse. She has been detained on an island, together with her father, Prospero, for almost twelve years. This happened as a result of having been exiled from Milan by Prospero’s power-seeking...

  • Artists' Stories

    The Story of Vincent van Gogh’s Bedroom and Its Three Versions

    By

    The Bedroom(s) are among the most famous paintings of Vincent van Gogh. Why the plural? There are three similar paintings of the same title. All three versions are described in his letters, easily discernible from one another by the pictures on the wall to the right. The first,...

To Top