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Emil Filla

Emil Frantisek Josef Filla (3 April 1882 Chropyně – October 7, 1953 Prague), a Czech Painter, graphic designer and sculptor, was a leader of the avant-garde in Prague between World War I and World War II and was an early Cubist painter.

Born to the family of railway officer František Filla and Žofie, Kotoučková in Chropyně No. 146, he spent his childhood in Brno, where he also attended a business school and worked as an insurance clerk. However, the work of the clerk did not fully fulfill him and he therefore left for Prague after a few months.

From 1903 he studied in the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. However, he left the school after three years because of conventional methods and the content of teaching, and together with several of his classmates, he decided to find a new way. In the first period of his work, he was particularly influenced by the work of painter Edvard Muncha, who had an exhibition in 1905 in Prague. Filla became a member of the Osma group with whom he exhibited in 1907 and 1908. From that time, his Expressionist work comes from (Reader Dostoyevsky, 1907, Chess Players, 1908, Red Ace, 1908). In 1909 he joined the Fine Arts Association of Manes, where he was continuously a member – with a break in the group of visual artists (1911-1914) – until his death.

In 1910, the elements of Cubism began to appear for the first time, first as cuboexpressionism (Autumn, 1910, Salome, 1911, Comforter, 1911, Two Women, 1912, Bathing 1912), influenced, among other things, by the work of Early Baroque painter El Greco, But he gradually created works of a highly Cubist style, heavily influenced by Cubist paintings by Pablo Picass and Georges Braquo. At that time he painted mainly still-life (Still-life with a bottle and a bottle, 1913, Still-life with a tray, 1914, Still-life with a glass, 1914). He also dealt with sculpture (Head, 1913), figurative painting (Smoker, 1913; Reader, 1913; Woman, 1914). In the still-life, elements of collage (Still-Life with Tobacco, 1914) appear as they stick to parts of newspaper text, labels, etc.

On March 27, 1912, he married Hana (Johana) Krejci (daughter of university professor František Krejčí), the daughter of Professor of Philosophy at Prague University in Královské Vinohrady, who was a lifelong ideal partner for her. Shortly before World War I he left for Paris, but after his outbreak he had to flee dramatically to Holland. In addition to the intensive painting work (Still Life with the Sun, 1915, Reader, 1915, The Man in the Hat, 1916, Zlaté rybičky u okna, 1916, Dutch Still Life, 1917), he also concentrated on work in the Czech resistance, Maff. Among other things, he produced reports, written in invisible ink, sent to the Netherlands by domestic resistance. The forwarded messages passed on.

After the war he worked as an ambassador in the Netherlands, but soon returned to Czechoslovakia and worked at the Foreign Ministry. Like nearly twenty years ago, this clerical work left him behind, and he began to paint again intensively. The center of his painter’s interest was still above all his still life (Still Life on the Table, 1920, Still Life, 1922, Still Life with Notes, 1923, Still Life with Raka, 1927, Still Life with Bottle, Glass and Clover, 1929, Still Life with Lute, Jug and Fruit, 1929 , Still Life with Guitar, 1929), but in contrast to the Dutch period, the color was dominated by them. In the 1930s, the subject of his work was the subject of a woman (The Girl with Mandolin, 1929, The Storied Female Figure, 1930, The Head of the Girl, 1930, The Woman with a Bull’s Head, 1930, The Head, 1934, Woman with a Dog, 1936, Three Women, . The increasing danger of Nazism in the second half of the 1930s led him to actively participate in the events that warned against Nazism. Of course he responded to this danger even artistically. Created because cycles matches Héraklových, Czech and Slovak folk songs (It will be a war, it will, Man and Death, War, 1939), and especially the cycle of fights and fights, which together struggling Animals (Tropical Night, Horse contested lion White Night, 1938 ). At that time again small sculpture works were created.

The very first day of the second world war (attack on Poland), together with many other prominent personalities (eg. Josef Čapek), the Nazis arrested and imprisoned in the concentration camp at Dachau and later in Buchenwald. He did not count in the concentration camp, but he wrote a number of theoretical texts and even a few poems. Unlike many other prison survived and in 1945 he was held in the Manes exhibition, which was put on yet nevystavovaná works from 1938-1939, mostly from the circle of fights and fights.

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In 1945 he was appointed professor of the newly founded University of Arts and Crafts in Prague. But because he had six infarctions in Buchenwald and his health was severely undermined, it took another year to go to work. In paintings and graphics he continued his pre-war cycles and intensively devoted himself to still life. He returned three times to the Buchenwald theme (Buchenwald Liberation, 1947). From 1947 until his death created a landscape of the Bohemian Uplands (Slavětín at Peruc, 1949 Hazmburk at Stradonice, 1950, from Brníkov, 1951; Hazmburk, 1951; Lounské Hill, 1951; Stradonice 1952; Kamyk in Litomerice, 1952, Chožov 1952 ). These paintings were created at the castle in Peruca, whose wing was given in 1946. In the countries of Central Bohemian Filla, among others. He responded to the work of the Dutch landscape painter Jan van Goyen, of which at the same time he wrote the book. At the same time, these countries seemed to be a form of warfare therapy. Since 1947, he also worked on his most important post-war work, the cycle of monumental paintings on paper (or silk) on the topic of Slovak bandit songs (sheep my sheep, 1951; Hey, we will not rolníkom, 1951 First flight falcon white bird, 1950), which Filla artistically Based not only on Cubism but also on folk art and even traditional Chinese ink painting. At the same time this work continued the pre-war cycle on the theme of Erben’s Bouquet and a series of folk songs (Žloval bird to bird, will be a war). These works were to be exhibited in 1951, the exhibition but not referring to the fact that the images are “despicable” and do not then strictly promoted by socialist realism. Fill was banned from exhibiting anything except the Bohemian Central Mountains. At that time, he was also deprived of the opportunity to pedagogically work at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design.

Emil Filla was a versatile artist, primarily a painter and graphic artist, but he was also a sculptor, collector, theorist, editor, organizer, diplomat. His distinctive personality shaped the direction of our cultural events shortly before the First World War and especially during the interwar period.

He often traveled, especially before the First World War – after France, Italy and Germany. The purpose of these trips was mainly the knowledge of old and contemporary art.

His theoretical texts were created primarily for the magazine Free Directions, which he was editor. They reflected the problems that Filla had at that time addressed in painting, and were such a good key to understanding his painting work. A special chapter of Buchenwald lyrics are very emotional today, serving rather as evidence of time than as a serious treatise on art, philosophy, history and so on. Filla characterizes one of them as follows: “This is not a book. It’s not a diary either. I wrote it in Buchenwald, so that I would not die. ” Significant emotivity, unsymmetry, and basically the approach of the entangled dilettante are the signs of all Fill’s texts, and so it is necessary to approach them.

He died on 6 October 1953 in Prague for his seventh infarction. He was buried in a cemetery in Prague-Střešovice (Cukrovarnická 15/131), where he shared a grave with his wife, academic painter Hana Fillová (25. 9. 1890 – 10. 3. 1958), born Krejčova, and brother-in-law, composer Iša Krejčí (July 10, 1904 – March 6, 1968).

In 1998 he was given in memoriam to the Order of T. G. Masaryk III. Class. On the second floor of the Chropyně Chateau, the Museum of Kroměříž established a permanent exhibition that reminds Fidel.