František Drtikol (photographer)

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:58:38

František Drtikol (1883-1961) was a Czech photographer.

Life and career

Born in a mining town west of Prague, Drtikol went on to study photography in Munich. Here he became very influenced by Art Nouveau.

He opened a photography studio in Prague in 1910, which became famous and was where many of the most important contemporary figures went to have their photographs taken, including Czechoslovakia’s first president T. G. Masaryk, his foreign minister Edvard Benes, and the composer Leos Janacek.

He is best known for his nudes and portraits. During his career, his nudes became more and more daring, pushing the boundaries of the avant garde. Throughout, the study of human form and face remained fundamental to his work, even when, in 1930, he stopped using live models and began using paper cut outs, silhouettes, of the human form.

He positioned his models against very simple props, creating geometric shapes, lines and shadows reminiscent of Cubism. However his nudes were also suggestive of the futurism aesthetic.

His later work incorporates much of his increasing fascination with Buddhist literature. Towards the end of his life he moved away from photography and focused instead on painting.

He was hugely significant to photography, and considered by many to be the most significant Czech photographer of the twentieth century.

Notable sales

  • Broken Arc/Nude with Hoop (1927) sold for $50,190 at Christie’s in October 2004 and for £39,650 at Christie’s in May 2010
  • Torso (1929) sold for $5,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in April 2008
  • Untitled (Nude) (1928) sold for $59,750 at Christie’s in April 2002
  • Composition (1926) sold for $61,000 at Sotheby’s in April 2005
  • Composition (1919) sold for $62,140 at Christie’s in October 2002
  • The Cry (1927) sold for £46,850 at Christie’s in May 2010
  • Step II (1929) sold for $69,310 at Christie’s in April 2003
  • The Bow (1928) sold for $76,480 at Sotheby’s in October 2002
  • Nude with Circles (1928) sold for $95,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in April 2007
  • Svitani (1928-9) sold for $104,500 at Christie’s in October 2011

Did you know?

Early editions of Drtikol’s books Le nus de Drtikol (1929) and Zena ve svelte (Women in the Light) are extremely collectible, and often as valuable as his photographic prints.

 

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