František Janoušek (1890–1943)

Lovers II

Technique :oil on wood panel


Signature:bottom left

Dimensions:81 x 99 cm


starting price:‍68000 EUR

achieved price:‍158400 EUR

85th Auction, Lot 137


František Janoušek’s unique artwork represents an absolutely brilliant example of his great creative period, which was based on Lyrical Cubism, but included a fresh and dynamic reaction to Surrealist tendencies. On the Czech art scene, Janoušek was one of the first to react to this new European style. Rather than a subconsciously chosen composition or shape, the matter on the painting was developed as a result of a conflict between round and sharp curves. The final object involves a gracefulness typical of this author, but at the same time also fierce aggression and cruelty.

As the name of the painting suggests, the theme of lovers appears repeatedly in Janoušek’s works. The composition consists of two entwined masses. What is important is the background that introduces us to an unspecified empty space. The act of love seems to become a moment beyond time and space. The Lovers II represents the climax of the author’s abstract morphology; the loving embrace combines the strongest from both aforementioned movements, whose synthesis became characteristic for the Czech environment largely thanks to him. Janoušek’s painting presents itself in the most beautiful, but also the most emotionally extreme manner.

As the stamp on the reverse reveals, the painting was exhibited at one of the most important exhibitions in interwar Czechoslovakia, Poesie 1932 in Prague’s Mánes. It was also presented at the author’s memorial exhibition in 1947 (Mánes, Prague, cat. no. 14) and in 1965 at the exhibition Painting in the Central Bohemian Gallery (Malířské dílo ve Středočeské galerii, Nelahozeves Chateau, cat. no. 34). The artwork comes from the author’s estate. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. From the attached expertise by PhDr. K. Srp:“[…] We have in front of us one of the most beautiful examples of his radical artistic thinking, which merged from Lyrical Cubism, slowly fading in his paintings into a period of Surrealism, which he reached after 1934. We can observe a return to the subject matter of lovers, partly derived from Pablo Picasso, which he followed up in the years 1931–1933. […]”