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Lot #202  –  91st Auction Day by KODL Gallery  (5/26/2024)
This lot has 1 limit

Emil Filla

Still Life with Gramophone Records

mixed media (oil, enamel, sand) on canvas
signed lower left, on the reverse
23 × 34 cm
Estimate: 2,500,000 CZK - 4,500,000 CZK
Starting price: 2,000,000 CZK
Current price:
2,000,000 CZKEUR

At the peak of his work and in his happy life period of the second half of the twenties, Emil Filla went through the so-called white period, in which he embarked on the path of colouristically refined, often playful paintings with a bold plastic rendering. However, at the beginning of the new decade, he started finding new elements of inspiration and using more figurative subject matters. He also significantly reduced the colour towards moderate monochrome shades. This transformation allowed him to focus more on the flat or plastic impression of the painting, which he shaped using a mixture of sand and grit added into colours, giving the scenes or some of their parts a three-dimensional, haptic impression. Filla’s growing interest in surrealism, which culminated in his participation in the international exhibition Poesie 1932, also gave rise to new sources of subject matters not only in figural motifs but also in still lifes. Kitchen utensils, various foods and his favourite cubist props related to music (a wide variety of musical instruments, sheet music or parts of inscriptions) began to appear in his paintings. Some other motifs, like the gramophone records in the presented painting, he only used once to add something unique and original to his work.

The composition of the presented painting is built on the contrast of two types of objects: a transparent glass and next to it, where we would expect a tray with fruit, flat circular gramophone records. Their two-dimensional nature allowed Filla to greatly simplify and flatten the scene built on geometrising, permeating plans, in which shades of grey and white are most prominently used. The green colour in the middle of the black circles then represents the paper labels of standard gramophone records, and the blue that appears in the background behind them could represent their printed covers. The black outlines framing the individual objects, which connect the scene into a compact whole, are also a powerful vehicle of expression.

The value of the work is increased by the fact that the first owner was the typefounder and Filla’s friend, Karel Barták. The authenticity has been verified by the Filla Foundation, and the painting will be included in the forthcoming inventory of the artist’s work. Assessed during consultations by PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D., and Mgr. T. Donné. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.

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