When the much-loved Opava actor Emanuel Křenek passed away in January 2016, the loss was felt by many theatre-goers. Besides having pursued a theatrical career spanning six decades, Emanuel Křenek was also a great admirer of art. He cultivated friendships with many artists, and he organized exhibitions (some of them in the foyer and club of “his” Silesian Theatre in Opava). As an accomplished photographer of artworks, he also prepared a number of publications which helped to bring the work of his friends – including celebrated names such as Jan Bauch and Jiří Kolář – to the attention of a wider public. For most of his life he surrounded himself with art – he was a passionate collector, and he “lived” art every day. He was an enthusiastic visitor to Ostrava’s gallery, fondly recalling his childhood when he and his family lived not far from the House of Art.
Once he surprised me with a modest request – he asked if he could donate his collection to our gallery after his death. Humbled by his generosity, I agreed. I was confident that many years would elapse before such an event, and as the years passed I thought that the idea had been forgotten. But Emanuel Křenek remained true to his word; after his death, his collection found its way into various public institutions in the region. Our gallery received 38 paintings, 55 sculptural works, and 79 drawings and pieces of graphic art. The works are small in scale, but include many pieces which are rare, interesting, and of high quality – truly a valuable addition to our collections.
At the exhibition, visitors can acquaint themselves with the works of artists such as Jan Bauch, František Hudeček, František Gross, Josef Istler, Josef Liesler, Jaroslava Pešicová, František Štorek, Vladimír Komárek, Ivan Ouhel, Eva Kmentová, Olbram Zoubek, Zdena Fibichová, Vladimír Preclík and more. The exhibition is primarily conceived as a way of expressing our deep gratitude to Emanuel Křenek – a true Renaissance man, wonderfully erudite and wise, with a kind and gentle soul.
Curator of the Exhibition: Jiří Jůza
Texts: Jiří Jůza
Graphic design: Robert V. Novák a Zuzana Burgrová
Promotion: Jana Malášek Šrubařová, Magdaléna Staňková
Translation: Christopher Hopkinson