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House of Art
TUE–SUN / 10:00–18:00

Otakar Nejedlý / Masked Ball

1919

The painting Masked Ball is unusual in being a landscape that is not at all typical of the artist’s oeuvre, but is rather a genre figural motif. Thus the overall impression is somewhat disparate and even confused at first sight but closer examination reveals that it opens an astounding kaleidoscope of life.

NEJEDLÝ OTAKAR

After failing to get into the Prague Academy of Visual Arts he attended the private art school of painting of Ferdinand Engelmüller. He then became a student of the outstanding plein-artist Antonín Slavíček, himself an offshoot of Mařák’s studio. Both artists painted in the Bohemian-Moravian Uplands at Kameničky. He made a joint trip to Ceylon and India with the painter Jaroslav Hněvkovský, where he painted colourfully winsome landscapes, unmarked by human civilisation. After a totally marginal period of Cubist painting influenced by Vincenc Beneš, he returned to landscape painting with elements of neo-classicism. In 1919 he was commissioned to paint the the deathly scenery of the World War I battlefields in France. In 1925 he was appointed professor of landscape painting at the Prague Academy of Visual Arts. His teaching was very progressive, as witness the legendary journeys made by his students to paint en plein air in Corsica, France, Italy and Dalmatia between 1925 and 1939. The list of places shows that Nejedlý deliberately selected sun-soaked southern locations. At home he favoured the Mělník area, as well as the Šumava and the Bohemian Paradise.
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