Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Josef Šíma: from Czech Republic to Paris

Joseph Sima, La Putain de Barcelone, 1937-1961, Galerie Guttklein Fine Art

Artists' Stories

Josef Šíma: from Czech Republic to Paris

Josef Šíma was born in Jaromer, in today’s Czech Republic in 1891, but he became a naturalized French citizen (he took the citizenship already in 1926). Although he spent most of his life in France, he never forgot the country of his childhood, which strongly influenced his art with the ideas of emotions, freedom, love, and poetry, rendering it dreamlike and full of colours. Let’s set off for a journey with Josef Šíma: from Czech Republic to Paris.

Joseph Sima, Double paysage, tempête électrique, 1928, Centre Pompidou, josef sima from czech republic to paris

Joseph Sima, Double paysage, tempête électrique, 1928, Centre Pompidou

He studied at the Academy of Arts in Prague, where he was the student of Jan Preisler, and after graduation in 1921 he became a correspondent for Devetsil, an artistic group developing proletarian art. In 1922 he moved to Paris where he met leading artists and literates of the time, such as Tristan Tzara, Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian, Theo Van Doesburg, his compatriot František Kupka, Robert Delaunay, or Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Pierre Jean Jouve, Amédée Ozenfant. Between 1925 and 1926, he frequented the surrealists’ circles and exhibited at the Salon des Surindépendants in the surrealist section, although he never adhered to their movement. Nevertheless, in 1929 he took part in another surrealist exhibition at the Zurich Kunsthaus and in 1935 he accompanied André Breton and Paul Éluard to Prague. In 1927 he co-founded his own group with his two friends, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte and Rene Daumal, called Le Grand Jeu, the Grand Game, which usually met in Sima’s studio. The group was sort of parallel to the Surrealists since one of the main sources of inspiration were moments of sudden enlightenment and exalted visions, which would allow the members to perceive the true dimension of the visible world.

Hercules Seghers, River Valley, 1620, Mauritshuis, josef sima from czech republic to paris

Hercules Seghers, River Valley, 1620, Mauritshuis

Another source of inspiration for Sima was the work of Dutch engraver Hercules Seghers (1589-1638), whose unusual landscapes Sima saw on one of his first visits to the Louvre. Later Sima said that Seghers was one of his masters because “his lands eaten by the light” influence him in his iconographical and stylistic choices. To Sima, landscape was always an inexhaustible source of inspiration. In his early years in Paris, he would paint the banks of the river Seine, Parisian bridges and the tugs in a spontaneous expressionist-tawny style. Later his style would evolve into unrestrained colourful geometry, a synthesis of plastic purism and of dreamlike lyricism.

Joseph Sima, La Putain de Barcelone, 1937-1961, Galerie Guttklein Fine Art, josef sima from czech republic to paris

Joseph Sima, La Putain de Barcelone, 1937-1961, Galerie Guttklein Fine Art


For Sima, the war meant a long interruption in work: he resumed painting in 1950s, again mostly landscapes. He travelled to Spain and France, and admired the landscapes there although he just used his visions and memories to paint them later. The focus of his works of that era were light and space, and his forms (sometimes figural, sometimes dematerialized) should always be perceived in relation to other forms. His paintings based on geometrical and colourful juxtapositions, conveyed lyricism, harmony, and tragedy, and above all, they were always charged with immense emotional message: the need for a consciousness of belonging to the infinite universe and its unity.

Joseph Sima, Orphée, 1967, Galerie Guttklein Fine Art, josef sima from czech republic to paris

Joseph Sima, Orphée, 1967, Galerie Guttklein Fine Art

Learn more:

 

 


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 Artists' Stories

  • Art Nouveau

    Aubrey Beardsley: A Long-Awaited Portrait

    By

    On the 21st of August I saw on Tate’s Instagram note about Beardsley’s birthday and I thought (as many other times) that I should have written about him already a long, long, time ago. Time to pay the tribute to this extremely talented draughtsman. A Child...

  • 19th Century

    Edvard Munch’s Summer Nights

    By

    Munch was fascinated by the Norwegian summer light which evokes both tranquillity and anxiety, two feelings that Munch tried to capture in his work. Moving almost every summer to a nearby coastal town, he often worked between 9 and 11 pm in order to precisely capture...

  • Claude Monet, The Gare St-Lazare, detail, 1877, The National Gallery, London. Claude Monet, The Gare St-Lazare, detail, 1877, The National Gallery, London.

    Impressionism

    Claude Monet and Saint Lazare Train Station

    By

    Between 1853 and 1870 Paris has been renovated and modernized by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann. This prefect of the Seine Department of France was chosen by Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive urban renewal program of new boulevards, parks, roads and...

  • 19th Century

    The Nabis 101

    By

    Multiple times I’ve told myself while writing other articles: “I finally have to write about the Nabis!”. And still haven’t done so. Why, why, why, if they are one of my favourite groups? Hopefully they will become one of yours, too. Les Nabis “Nabis” means in...

  • 19th Century

    Jan Matejko – the Painter of Polish History

    By

    Jan Matejko (1838 – 1893) is one of the most famous Polish painters. When he was in his twenties, he was twice awarded the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris, where his paintings hung alongside the works of Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Matejko...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy