Kamil Lhoták (1912–1990)


Technique :oil on canvas fixed on plywood


Signature:bottom left

Dimensions:50 x 60 cm


starting price:‍68000 EUR

achieved price:‍104000 EUR

Auction 84th, Lot 162


This excellent, and from the point of view of the motif and the composition, unique painting presents the author's interest in technology and its poetics. His love of balloons and airships, along with a sense of the poetry of the periphery and the civilian urban landscape, was born long before it became the main program of the Group 42, of which Lhoták was a member. Especially in the year in which the Group was founded one can observe in Lhoták's work a penchant for smaller formats and a detailed painting style closely reminiscent of the old masters. This time, however, we have before us a painting in which Lhoták completely gave up anchoring his chosen theme in the landscape and the specific space indicated by the horizon. On the contrary, he fully concentrated on the close-up of the wind station. The exceptionally pure style of painting and colour layout make the beauty of the wind turbine, which is Lhoták's homage to the American invention of the late 1920's, and the red wind sleeve, stand out. Just as if by chance, a white airship is seen flying through the sky and a hot air balloon slowly emerges over the lower edge of the image. Someone has tied what is perhaps only an inflatable balloon to the fence around the wooden hut – this tells the viewer that he may not have raised his eyes as high as it might have seemed at first. The work comes from the property of the painter Jan Smetana, who was Lhoták's colleague in the Group 42. It is listed in the artist's list of works under the same name and number 331/22. It is also reproduced in the author's monograph (F. Dvořák, Kamil Lhoták, Odeon, Prague 1985, fig. 30) and in a publication on Lhoták's painting (Libor Šteffek, Kamil Lhoták, Paintings, Prague 2017, p. 82). Condition before restoration. Assesed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. K. Srp. From the attached expertise by PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D.: "[…] The author presents here in a poetic way the modern world, changed by civilization. The painting form is pure and crystal clear in the richness of the individual elements, dynamically scattered over the canvas. The flowing brushstroke and the distinctive luminosity of the sky shaded by light clouds contribute to the lively and magical effect of the whole painting. The deserted scene evokes the atmosphere of something fatally insistent and urgent, which only intensifies the setting with its special calm. […] “.