Josef Šíma (1891–1971)


Technique :oil on canvas


Signature:lower right

Dimensions:60 × 73 cm


starting price:‍180000 EUR

achieved price:‍249600 EUR

88th Auction, lot 127


This extraordinary spiritual and delicate painting with an immensely calming colour palette comes from the artist’s important high-quality period, which has only recently been rightfully appreciated by collectors. In this period, Šíma executed a series of drawings and paintings of ephemeral levitating landscapes reduced to a few basic elements, which are increasingly dematerialised and have lost connection with the ground as well as gravity. These landscapes are thus a great example of his interest in transparency and refracted light passing through a number of stacked up linear surfaces which are made of light rather than some substance. He developed his work independently from contemporary trends and executed a number of masterpieces during this period characterised by extraordinary depth and a refined technique. In the impressive radiant scenes of an originally landscape character, which Šíma transformed into an almost abstract depiction, the artist focused on expressing the changes in light and the structure of nature. For this purpose, a fine drawing and a very light, often monochrome colour layer served him well. Thanks to the colours’ ephemeral shades he was able to portray the metaphysical processes. In the presented painting the light penetrates through the individual layers, which form several stacked rectangles on top of each other, casting a shadow only at the edges where they touch. Although only two basic colour tones were used, light and dark, the beholder’s gaze cannot reach the lowest layer; it is constantly diverted, as if absorbing the unique energy of the painting. It is also impressive that, by the irregular division of individual geometric shapes, Šíma brought movement and vibration into the depiction, thus forcing the beholders to focus on the defined space which is disintegrating and creating at the same time before their eyes.

The painting comes from a foreign private collection and is presented in an elegant frame. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise by PhDr. K. Srp is attached.