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Lot #27 

Rudolf Kremlička (1886–1932)

Bohemian Borderland Landscape

oil on canvas
signed lower right
73 × 92 cm
Estimate: 2,500,000 CZK - 4,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 2,000,000 CZK
Hammer price:
2,300,000 CZK

Kremlička’s late, highly thought-out and visually appealing scene is characterised by his distinctive simplified brushwork, which matured into his typical relaxed style at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. Although he devoted most of his life to figure painting, from the 1920s, he often chose seemingly ordinary landscape scenes in which he displayed exceptional painterly finesse. His stay in Brittany became crucial for him; he spent perhaps the happiest moments of his life there and captured its characteristic panoramas on several canvases. Subsequently, he tried to use this experience in the Czech environment. This time, he chose an area in North Bohemia, most likely the Elbe River behind Děčín, which he knew intimately and often depicted in his drawings.

The first plan of the composition begins with a river with a bank, from which rises an undulating hilly landscape modelled by various shades of green, and the scene closes with a blue sky covered with white clouds. The red roofs of the houses in the greenery will immediately attract attention, which brings a certain tension with their colour and placement only in the right part of the painting. A harmonious and calm element is the presence of an anchored ship and a floating raft with a small figural staffage. Kremlička was able to brilliantly capture the transience of the moment in the form of ever-passing clouds and people carried away by the water current, and on the other hand, the steady presence of mountains and houses, which have persisted in the landscape for decades.

The painting was published in the artist’s monograph under the title Landscape in the Borderland (V. Nezval, Rudolf Kremlička, Prague 1955, fig. 80), presented at Kremlička’s posthumous exhibition under the title Borderland Landscape (Umělecká beseda, 12 March – 24 April 1932, cat. No. 106) and at his solo exhibition in Mánes (Nová síň, January–March 1958, cat. No. 69, under the title Bohemian Borderland Landscape). The original owner of the painting was František Boguszak, captain, employee of the Military Geographical Institute in Prague, an important surveyor and topographer, as evidenced by the stamp of the Central Union of Czechoslovak Visual Artists on the reverse of the painting with a different title Landscape by the River. The painting is slightly damaged. Assessed during consultations by PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D., and prof. J. Zemina. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.