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House of Art
TUE–SUN / 10:00–18:00

Bohumír Matal / Late Afternoon with Giorgio de Chirico

1945

The painting Late Afternoon with Giorgio de Chirico is a highly significant work in Matal’s oeuvre, one that originates from the start of the artist’s association with Group 42. The red-haired figure that is virtually bereft of physicality gazes fixedly at a late-afternoon cityscape. The metaphysical existence of the objects in the room —— the umbrella and the wash basin —— contrasts with the empty but harmonious interior. The white-robed figure is fascinated with the city and its energy. It gazes into the future and balances on the thin border between reality and sweet dreaming. In this painting Bohumír Matal astonishingly foreshadows his work of the late 1940s as well as summing up the essence of Group 42 as a whole.

MATAL BOHUMÍR

From 1937 to 1941 Matal attended a school of arts and crafts in Brno. In 1941 he was arrested for anti-fascist activity and interned in the Lohbrück and Oswitz labour camps until the end of the war. After the war he returned to Brno and became the youngest member of Group 42 and also joined the Umělecká beseda. As early as 1946 his works were shown at the prestigious Art Tchécoslovaque 1938−1946 exhibition held at the La Boëtie Gallery in Paris. His first major solo exhibition was held at the House of Art in Brno in 1947. At that time he was creating in the spirit of Group 42. He was fascinated by the city and its periphery, as well as by civilisation as such. Soon after the Communist takeover of February 1948 Matal withdrew from public activity and painted in the calm of his studio. His attempts to exhibit his works in the first half of the 1950s resulted in fierce ideological criticism from the regime. Artists and art theorists would meet in his studio during those diffi cult years and set up the group Brno 57. In the 1960s Matal’s oeuvre underwent a transformation. His work in the spirit of surrealism and civilism became more abstract in form.
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