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House of Art
TUE–SUN / 10:00–18:00

Kamil Lhoták / On the Bank

1946

Lhoták’s works from the 1940s were to be crucial for his entire oeuvre. His sensitive portrayal of reality seems to be submerged in dreams and unfulfilled memories. The painting On the Bank of 1946 is an example of this. Lhoták plays with himself and also with the viewer. The picture seem quite natural but the entire scene is very precisely delimited. A wall stands to the left and a river flows slowly in the background. The green hut suggests a motorcycle garage.

A ball lies on a bleached and yellowed patch of grass. A ball and a motorcycle. Two references to dynamics and freedom of movement, freedom that was present in the vast majority of Lhoták’s works at that time. He was a master at capturing large gestures with seemingly banal things. The painting On the Bank is somnolent and calm, yet everything conceals within it enormous latent energy.

LHOTÁK KAMIL

Kamil Lhoták was undoubtedly one of the foremost representatives of Czech 20th-century art. Lhoták’s oeuvre was shaped by his specific circumstances and possibly his complicated family relationships also. Early in his childhood his mother encouraged him to attend art exhibitions and he also became fascinated with the phenomenon of motoring. After completing secondary education he enrolled at the Law Faculty in accordance with his mother’s wishes and graduated without having any great interest in the subject. He gave solo exhibitions of his art works from 1939 and soon after helped found the Group 42 art association together with Jiří Kolář, Bohumír Matal, Jan Kotík and Ladislav Zívr. Soon after it was formed Group 42 organised an important joint exhibition in 1943 that established Kamil Lhoták as a key figure of the Czech art scene.
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