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Václav Zykmund

The Abduction of Angelina

oil on canvas
1936–1937
unsigned
81 x 81 cm
Estimate: 3,000,000 CZK - 6,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 2,000,000 CZK
Hammer price:
2,400,000 CZK

The Abduction of Angelina represents the rare early work of Václav Zykmund, a unique artist actively involved in avant-garde artistic experiments, co-founder of the artistic group Ra, and in later years also an important, very popular teacher at the Palacký University in Olomouc. His knowledge of photography, film, music, literature, and above all philosophy and sociology opened up new horizons for his students and greatly supported the spirit of freedom and revolt in the students who still had time to graduate before 1969, when he had to resign for political reasons. Fine art and especially free self-expression was Zykmund’s lifelong philosophy and lifestyle. His early landscape paintings were influenced by Rabas and Cézanne, besides whom he also admired Filla, Derain, and Justitz. According to his own words, the turning point in his work came after reading an article by André Breton, published in Panorama magazine. Later, he even translated the texts of Breton and other important writers of surrealism into Czech, including the literary work of Salvador Dalí, whom he also admired as is evident from his paintings executed in the second half of the 1930s, including the presented work. In his works as well as in their poetic titles, there are elements of irony that go as far as Dadaist arbitrariness. According to the young avant-garde artists, a new language, poetry, was needed to liberate the imagination and to “address the humanity in man”. The year 1937 can be considered the year of manifestation of such ideas and philosophy in Zykmund’s work. At that time, he executed Guillaume Apollinaire’s Spectral Love, and soon afterwards a replica of it – the presented painting The Abduction of Angelina. The painting is mentioned in the catalogue of the solo exhibition entitled Václav Zykmund, which took place at the Olomouc Museum of Art (M. Mžyková: Václav Zykmund, Olomouc 1992, p. 12). Assessed during consultations by PhDr. J. Machalický and prof. J. Zemina. The expertise by PhDr. K. Srp is attached.