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Lot #122  –  91st Auction Day by KODL Gallery  (5/26/2024)

Rudolf Kremlička

In the Café

oil on canvas
signed lower right
46 × 38 cm
Estimate: 2,000,000 CZK - 4,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,500,000 CZK
Hammer price:
3,500,000 CZKEUR

This exceptional painting by Rudolf Kremlička is a masterpiece from his peak period. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he was influenced by such different personalities as Hanuš Schweiger and Antonín Slavíček, he went on a trip to Holland and Paris. In France, he admired the work of the Impressionists Edgar Degas, August Renoir, Édouard Manet, and also Cézanne and Matisse. However, his main source of inspiration was the work of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, whose sensitive style combined with erotic charm resonated with Kremlička’s sensibility. His lifelong theme became the celebration of the beauty of the female body as a mediator of the sensual world. He painted sensual nudes, unusual in the Czech environment. He was influenced by the return to neoclassicism, as were his peers from the Tvrdošíjní group, with whom he exhibited from 1918, and whose work combined a naïve form with civilised content representing love of ordinary things, people and work. In October 1925, the artist’s first solo exhibition took place at SVU Mánes, and in the same year, his first monograph was published by Musaion, with an introduction by the French art historian Élie Faure.

An important vehicle of expression for Kremlička became the outline, which he used in a series of lithographs published by Ludvík Bradáč in 1923. The album entitled Drawings contained seventeen lithographs – an overview of his drawings from the last five years. In addition to the simple yet masterful drawings of his well-known compositions In Front of the Mirror, Laundress and After the Bath, the album also contained the drawing In the Café. It depicted a girl in a hat sitting at a round table with a glass of lemonade, curiously turned to face the viewer. The artist captured her glance and movement with nobility and affection. A few years later, he repeated this motif in the presented work In the Café, with added guests in the background. This painting presents a unique, sensual depiction of a female figure whose beauty is highlighted by soft brushwork. It comes from an important Prague collection. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.

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