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Mikuláš Medek (1926–1974) 3 604 cm2 of Rustle 536 cm2 of Silence

mixed media (oil, enamel) on canvas
1961
lower right
162 × 100 cm
frame

Starting price4,000,000 CZK Hammer price8,000,000 CZK
89th Auction, lot 112 This work by Mikuláš Medek from the cycle of “prepared paintings” represents an exceptional acquisition opportunity, as paintings from this cycle are not available on the market anymore – most of them are in public institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad. 3 604 cm2 of Rustle 536 cm2 of Silence presents Medek as an internationally recognised pioneer of art informel and as an essential artistic personality associated mainly with the unofficial scene. The presented work comes from the artist’s mature creative period at the turn of the 1950s when the colour structure became a dominant vehicle of expression in his paintings. At the end of the 1950s, Medek’s subject matters shifted towards more distinctly stylised scenes, losing descriptiveness and detail, through which he gradually reached a completely abstract rendering. The beginning of the 1960s was marked by the search for a new artistic language when Medek began to create so-called “prepared paintings”, whose organic matter and the artist’s intervening in it reflect intense tension, restlessness, and vulnerability. The surface of the canvas served him as a space to record inner experiences directly linked to the difficult period of normalisation in Czechoslovakia. The titles of the resulting works are based on the exact measurement of the areas covered by the coloured substances. 3 604 cm2 of Rustle 536 cm2 of Silence is an extremely strong artwork from the peak creative period of one of the most progressive post-war Czech artists.The painting was originally part of the Prague collection of PhDr. L. Hartmannová Kybalová and PhDr. A. Hartmann, an eminent art historian and a close friend of the artist, from whom he received it as a gift. The value of the artwork is further enhanced by its exhibition history. It was presented for the first time in 1963 at a joint exhibition with Jan Koblasa (Paintings and sculptures of Jan Koblasa and Mikuláš Medek from the years 1959–1963, Regional Museum in Teplice, 3–30 August 1963, cat. No. 9), then in 1965 at a solo exhibition in the Nová síň Gallery in Prague (Mikuláš Medek: A selection of paintings from the years 1947–1965, April 1965, cat. No. 20), and last time as part of the artist’s solo exhibition at the Rudolfinum Gallery in 2002 (Mikuláš Medek, Rudolfinum Gallery, Prague, 25 April – 18 August 2002), in the catalogue of which it is reproduced (E. Kosáková-Medková, A. Hartmann: Mikuláš Medek, Prague, 2002, p. 75). A black and white reproduction of the work can also be found in the artist’s monograph (B. Mráz: Mikuláš Medek, Prague, 1970, fig. No. 49), where, however, it is erroneously listed under the title Rustles and Silence. The painting is presented in the original framing and has the artist’s inscription on the reverse. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. E. Kosáková-Medková, art historian and the artist’s daughter. The expertise of PhDr. K. Srp is attached.
Auction day 91
Auction day 91
Auction day 91
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