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Josef Čapek (1887–1945) The Farmhouse

oil on canvas
1922
bottom right
34 × 38 cm
frame

Starting price2,500,000 CZK Final price4,800,000 CZK
85th Auction, Lot 202 This unique and in its rendition poetic painting represents the work of one of our most valuable artists, Josef Čapek. For him, the time of the First Republic was a very happy and content period, when he could artistically blossom out. He tended to naïve painting inspired by folk art and tradition, reduced the range of vehicles of expression and confided on clear variety of colours. At that time, he was often interested in themes related to rural environment. By all this, he was completely opposed to the interwar avant-garde. Return to the roots brought him peace of mind, which was slowly fading from the intellectual culture of the 20th century society, fully relying on new technologies and artistic techniques.Tenderness in the choice of themes and fine work with colour and brush is likewise characteristic of The Farmhouse. The work has been considered missing for a long time, and thus it is a real fortune that it appeared on the art market. We can observe how Čapek, using a reduced colour range, captured conventionalised mass of the outbuilding set in a highland landscape, which evokes a feeling of intimacy and warmth in the beholder. The composition of the painting is divided into three plans, the first of which depicts the nearest hillock with a simple fence, leading us into the open space in front of the small house. The colour spectrum changes from contrasting brightness towards darker tones closer to the house walls, as the author wanted to capture the steep slope using reduced vehicles of expression. The cragged rocks’ peaks in the background rip off the yellow clouds floating in the clear blue sky. Seemingly minimalist painting convinces us on closer inspection that only a truly brilliant painter, such as Čapek undoubtedly was, could create an almost ingeniously built composition in its full plasticity using such reduced vehicles of expression.The work comes from a high-quality Prague collection. Original framing. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. K. Srp. The expertise by PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc, is attached.
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