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Emil Filla (1882–1953) Still Life on a Tray

mixed media (oil, enamel, sand) on canvas
1933
lower right
24 × 33 cm
framed

Estimate: 3,000,000 CZK4,000,000 CZK
Starting price2,200,000 CZK Hammer price4,400,000 CZK
This extraordinarily sophisticated artwork demonstrates Filla’s mastery and optimism in the interwar years, culminating in one of his most significant and prolific periods, in which he presented a relaxed approach and desire to experiment. Although it is smaller in size, this expressive painting creates a captivating impression which is enhanced by bold contrasting colours, emotional use of the colour matter, and a very well thought-out artistic concept on the boundary of surrealism and lyrical cubism. Filla’s approach to depicting the reality was influenced by getting closer to surrealism, which became crucial for his further artistic development, as evidenced by the significant representation of his paintings at the Poesie 1932 exhibition and the fact that it was thanks to him that the post-war Breton’s surrealist avant-garde was introduced in Mánes. The feud of the concrete and the abstract, two opposing positions, reaches a great balance in the presented work, as if the artist wanted to have both possibilities present in one painting at the same time. This compact still life of relaxed forms is composed of intersecting and layered surfaces full of ingenious internal relations between individual objects, limited only by rounded black outlines forming a transition between the contour and the shadow. At first glance, this artwork is exceptional in its content simplicity, which becomes more attractive the longer the beholder inspects the painting and dives into its depth. Ultimately, the relaxed expression that Filla was able to render in some of his works is unparalleled in Czech art. The value of this painting is increased by the artist’s inscription “F 278” and the Mánes art store stamp No. 393 on the reverse. The authenticity of the painting was verified by the Filla Foundation and it will be listed in the inventory of the artist’s work by prof. PhDr. V. Lahoda, CSc. Assessed during consultations by Mgr. T. Donné and PhDr. R. Michalová, PhD. The expertise by PhDr. K. Srp is attached.
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