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Josef Šíma (1891–1971) Landscape

oil on canvas
1964
lower right
34 × 56 cm
frame

Starting price1,500,000 CZK Hammer price2,300,000 CZK
89th Auction, lot 37 This extraordinarily spiritual and delicate painting of an immensely calming colour palette comes from the artist’s important post-war period, only recently rightfully appreciated by collectors. At this time, Josef Šíma reached his final artistic and conceptual synthesis filled with extraordinary spiritual depth and also mastery. Unlike many other artists, he did not stick to any learned rendering nor recycle old subject matters. Although he followed up on his earlier work, he continued to tackle new creative problems. The final decade of his work can be divided into three related periods. The presented painting belongs to the first of them (1960–1965), the period when Šíma left the motif of informal light visions and progressed towards the concretisation of the light objects in more clearly defined shapes, in which he again touched on the theme of the landscape especially important to him before the war. This time, the landscape had a far more abstract concept, and the dominant role in its expression had the light blurring the entire scene. The imaginary matter dissolves in this light into a very subtle, almost ideological image of the landscape. The prominent art historian and author of the artist’s monograph, František Šmejkal, used the title “mental landscapes” for these paintings, trying to describe their deep spiritual dimension and contemplative internalisation. The light did not always have to have the character of bright daylight; at this time, dark and more dramatic landscapes also appeared in Šíma’s work, such as the presented Landscape portrayed mainly in earthy and grey shades. However, the light still played a vital role as a constitutive element – a latent force illuminating the darkened landscape. The presented work is a highly collectable and valuable painting from this period and, at the same time, an exceptionally rare example of the Šíma’s dark landscapes on the market. It comes from a foreign collection and is presented in an elegant framing. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.
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