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

  • 19th Century

    Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary at North Carolina Museum of Art

    By

    Czech-born Alphonse Mucha was one of the most celebrated artists in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. As an influential force behind the Art Nouveau movement, he created sumptuous posters and advertising—promoting such everyday products as cigarette papers and tea biscuits—that transformed the streets...

  • 19th Century

    Gustav Klimt’s Lost and Found Viennese Beauty – Lady with Fan

    By

    Fräuleins (Ladies), step aside! This steaming-hot brunette is back in town! After 100 years of captivity, away from the Viennese public, you can now find her at the Upper Belvedere, showing off her superb skin. Meet one of Gustav Klimt’s last ever subjects: Lady With Fan....

  • 19th Century

    Sisterhood in Art: Portraying Sisters

    By

    It’s not surprising that many artists having sisters, painted their portraits, especially early in their careers. They were probably easily available for modeling and they often supported the artists’ effort and careers. Each of the five portraits below depicts sisters in their own unique way –...

  • Courtyard, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. Photo: Sean Dungan Courtyard, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. Photo: Sean Dungan

    19th Century

    Her Life and Her Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner

    By

    The story of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and its founder before the robbery in 1990.

  • 19th Century

    9 Facts About Caspar David Friedrich You Should Know

    By

    Caspar David Friedrich, one of the most important German artist of his generation, was born on this day in 1774. He is mostly known for his allegorical landscapes with contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, or Gothic ruins. Mysterious and mystic atmosphere were...

To Top