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Lot #37  –  91st Auction Day by KODL Gallery  (5/26/2024)
This lot has 1 limit

František Tichý

Hanged Harlequin

tempera on paper
signed lower right
97 × 60 cm
framed, mounted, glazed
Estimate: 2,500,000 CZK - 5,500,000 CZK
Starting price: 2,000,000 CZK
Current price:
2,000,000 CZKEUR

This emotionally powerful work of František Tichý, a sought-after and recognised painter of Czech modern art, touches on his favourite theme of commedia dell'arte. It originated in Italy in the 16th century, soon became popular among theatres throughout Europe, and did not disappear even after its greatest boom in the mid-17th century. The most popular character was Harlequin, a comical servant in a chequered suit with a mask who fell in love with a maid, Columbine. Other main characters were Pantalone, a rich and mean Venetian merchant, Dottore, a doctor or lawyer, and the acerbic Pulcinella. František Tichý was as interested in commedia dell'arte as he was in the circus; both of these theatre forms represented for him a kind of “low” art in opposition to academic and official art, driven by a desire for naturalness and authenticity. In his characters of harlequins and theatre scenes, he followed the works of older masters Antoine Watteau, Francisco Goya and Honoré Daumier. Among the Czech artists, Karel Myslbek devoted himself to this theme, with whom Tichý shared the social compassion reflected in the tragic spirit of his works.

In his paintings, Tichý responded to the current political situation and awareness of threats and loss of freedom. Hanged Harlequin is closely related to the events of the time and the artist’s fate. A variant of the presented tempera on paper from 1948 is an oil painting from 1949. Both artworks present a tragic finale because Tichý’s studio at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague was closed at that time for political reasons. This painting is a strong existential statement of the time, representing the peak of the artist’s creative period. The collectible value increases the painting’s origin in the collection of the famous Czech collector of modern art, JUDr. Jaroslav Borovička. Assessed during consultations by doc. T. Winter, Ph.D., and PhDr. K. Srp. The expertise of PhDr. J. Machalický is attached.


·       F. Dvořák: František Tichý, Prague 1971, not pag., fig. 15

·       J. Tomeš: František Tichý, Prague 1976, p. 137, fig. 53; not pag., fig. 360

·       B. Fučík: Fourteen Stops, Prague 1992, fig. p. 163

·       T. Winter: František Tichý, Prague 2002, p. 164, fig. 190

·       B. Fučík / M. Hlaváčková: František Tichý, Pilsen 1990, p. 26, fig. 49

Presented at the artist’s solo exhibitions:

·       František Tichý: Life‘s Work, SVU Mánes, Prague, 6. 7. – 30. 9. 1962, not in the catalogue

·       František Tichý 1896–1961: Selection of the Artist’s Life‘s Work, The House of Arts, Aleš South Bohemian Gallery, České Budějovi­ce, 15 February – 17 March 1963, cat. No. 39

·       František Tichý: Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, Gallery of Fine Arts in Cheb, March 1965, cat. No. 39

·       František Tichý: Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Grafik, Haus am Lützowplatz, 4.–30. 5. 1966, cat. No. 121

·       František Tichý, The Gallery of Modern Art in Roudnice nad Labem, May – June 1990, cat. No. 49

·       František Tichý, Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen, July – August 1990, cat. No. 49 

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