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Lot #37 
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Kamil Lhoták

Suburb

oil on canvas
1940
signed
55,5 x 60,5 cm
Estimate: 2,000,000 CZK - 3,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,300,000 CZK
Hammer price:
2,600,000 CZK

Kamil Lhoták achieved his artistic maturity during the dramatic war years. In 1939, he organised his first exhibition at the Beaufort Gallery in Prague, where he presented 15 of his works. Newspapers referred to it as an exhibition of a “New Group”. Since then, Lhoták’s name joined the Czech art world permanently. The painting Suburb dates from 1940 and most likely captures the atmosphere of Lhoták’s native Prague district, Holešovice, which became a subject of many of his works. The forceful empty space in the heaviness of time before the storm accentuates the elements of industrial architecture and especially the solitary chimney in the background. An interesting colour detail is the artist’s typical motif of a yellow hot-air balloon, which brings lightness and poetics to the abandoned Suburb. As inferred from the stamp on the reverse with the amount of 1,200 crowns, the artwork was likely exhibited at some group exhibition. In 1940, Lhoták participated in the First Exhibition of Young Artists in Zlín, where he exhibited alongside future members of Group 42, František Gross and František Hudeček, as well as Josef Liesler and František Jiroudek. The years 1940 and 1941 became the peak period of his work, as evidenced by the presented canvas. The artist’s inscription, (signature and date), on the reverse. Assessed during consultations by PhDr. A. Strnadlová and Ing. L. Šteffek. From the attached expertise by PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D.: „[…] The painting ‘On the Suburbs’ is an original, cutting-edge, extremely representative work of Kamil Lhoták, an author whose name has become synonymous with the environment of modern civilisation and its attributes, seen from two parallel points of view: enchanted, even with childlike naivety, and nostalgic. […] The assessed painting is full of the author’s poetic vision and creative spontaneity. […]