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Lot #46  –  91st Auction Day by KODL Gallery  (5/26/2024)

František Muzika

Jellyfish IX

mixed media (oil, tempera) on canvas laid down on a board
signed lower right
66 × 50 cm
Estimate: 2,000,000 CZK - 4,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,500,000 CZK
Hammer price:
1,700,000 CZKEUR

This impressive and optimistic painting depicting underwater life belongs among the last works of František Muzika, an important representative of Czech interwar modernism and post-war imaginative surrealism. During his prolific career, he first went through neoclassicism influenced by Pablo Picasso, then connected his aesthetic awareness with the Devětsil generation, and finally adopted imaginative surrealism, only to develop it further at the very end of his work – towards a distinctive artistic poetics with its characteristic form and content. Muzika’s works from the first half of the seventies often depict an organic form of some kind of microcosm. He captured imaginary creatures and their rich structures in vibrant colours and indeterminate backgrounds. In addition to the imaginative larvae, at the end of his life, he was particularly fascinated by the cnidarians and their tangle of tentacles, performing dance-like movements in water. Beholders can feel lightness and carefreeness from these works, suggesting that the artist left the legacy he wanted to leave at the end of his life.

The work was presented at Muzika’s solo exhibition in Cologne, Germany (Retrospektiveausstellung mit Ölbildern, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik der Jahre 1930–1972, Baukunst Galerie, 28. 9. – 18. 11. 1972, cat. No. 60), as evidenced by the stamp on the reverse, where the artist’s inventory number 905 is also preserved. Presented in the original framing. The first owner acquired the work directly from the author, and it has been kept in his family since. Assessed during consultations by PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D., and prof. J. Zemina. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.

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