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Antonín Slavíček (1870–1910) Market in Prague II

oil on wood panel
1908
unsigned
32 × 40.5 cm
frame

Starting price2,700,000 CZK Hammer price2,700,000 CZK
85th Auction, Lot 87 This cabinet painting – cabinet by its size, but of great importance – by Antonín Slavíček represents a typical example of the author’s late work, characterised by a dynamic style based on work with colour spots and an effort to express an immediate sensory perception at a specific time. It shows, among other things, the author’s lifelong effort to balance the tension between the city exterior and the plein air, and is one of Slavíček’s themes for Prague, which he developed in several variants purely on his own initiative, based on fascination with the particular theme as well as his interest in the city nooks vanishing due to the redevelopment. His choice of subject matters was also influenced by his visit to Paris in 1907, facilitated by a grant from Charlotte Piepenhagen. The local markets with stalls and parasols certainly impressed him, perhaps together with the inspiration of the work of T. F. Šimon, based in Paris at the same time, and so he processed all of these perceptions after his return home. The scenes formed by the clusters of open parasols above the stalls and people passing by fascinated him greatly, contrary to the surrounding houses. Gestural work with colour matter, blurred focus, spontaneous approach, and mood captured with ingenious fidelity through the people turning their back prove the naturalness and value of these small painting etudes, which the author used in this period of his work for expression of his personal experience and emotions, obviously with no self-censorship. In a letter to August Švagrovský, he described paintings of this size and rendition as “those planks” that allowed him to “depict the impressions of fleeting moods” and create a kind of painted diary to capture “the memories of the days lived here”.The value of this artwork of the high-quality Prague collection provenance confirms its enlistment in the register of the author’s work under the title Market in Prague II (J. M. Tomeš.: Antonín Slavíček, Prague, 1966, cat. no. 394). Assessed during consultations by prof. R. Prahl, CSc., and prof. J. Zemina. The expertise by PhDr. K. Srp is attached.
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