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Jakub Schikaneder (1855–1924) Winter Street

oil on canvas
1900-1910
lower right
91.5 × 72.5 cm
framed

Estimate: 7,000,000 CZK14,000,000 CZK
Starting price6,000,000 CZK Hammer price12,800,000 CZK

The work of Jakub Schikaneder, a unique artist who worked almost equally in the 19th and 20th centuries, gradually crystallised from the beginning, finding new stimuli and constantly developing up until the author’s death, out of the ordinary with no late work stagnation period. Well-educated in techniques during his studies at the Prague Academy and in Munich, he initially showed his strong commitment to socially critical scenes. Subsequently, he became inspired by lonely women in the landscape, quiet evening interiors, images of abandoned landscapes, and, in the end, nostalgic townhouse interiors influenced by his relationship with Prague and its vanishing beauties. The integrating element of all these phases was a romantic capture and projection of current moods together with a deep introspection into the feelings and pain of a person and the communicativeness of a particular place.

The presented painting from the artist’s mature period bears the most characteristic features of his work – the melancholy light of lonely moments in which the heaviness of human existence played a major role. Winter Street presents Schikaneder’s typical interest in light effects. Characteristic of his style is the blending of the warm glowing light emanating from the window with the cold moonlight and the sharp rays of the street lighting. The combination of light sources had its foundations in discoveries in the field of colour theory and perception.

The painting was published in literature related to the artist and in the guidebook of the National Gallery Prague for the permanent exhibition of 19th-century art (N. Blažíčková-Horová: Art of the 19th century in Bohemia, 1790–1910 – painting, sculpture and applied arts, exhibition guide, National Gallery Prague, St. George’s Convent, Prague Castle, Prague 2009, p. 167, fig. p. 166). It was also included in the recent artist's monograph (V. Hulíková: Jakub Schikaneder, 1855–1924, Prague 2012, p. 295, cat. No. 107, fig. p. 176; V. Hulíková: Jakub Schikaneder, 1855–1924, guide exhibition, National Gallery in Prague, Prague 2012, fig. p. 76). The work and its reproduction were even mentioned in the recently published comprehensive encyclopaedia of Czech art (R. Švácha et al.: Art in the Czech Lands 800–2000, Řevnice 2017, p. 725, fig. p. 726). The painting was on loan in the collection of the National Gallery in Prague (inventory No. VO 11690). An interesting fact is the use of this artwork for a postage stamp, engraved by Václav Fajt as a five-colour steel engraving and issued on 5 November 2014 at the value of 25 CZK. This canvas of undeniable value comes from an important Prague collection and is the artist's undoubted chef-d'oeuvre. Assessed during consultations by prof. R. Prahl, CSc., and prof. T. Vlček. The expertise of PhDr. Š. Leubnerová is attached.

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