Saturday, December 03, 2022

102 of Czech art collector, patron Meda Mladkova. died in

PRAGUE ( Associated Press) — Meda Mladkova, a Czech art collector, patron and historian who was a passionate promoter of Frantiek Kupka and supported artists in communist Czechoslovakia while he was in exile behind the Iron Curtain, has died . She was 102 years old.

The Kampa Museum, a modern art gallery created by Mladkova in the heart of Prague, announced that she died on Tuesday.

“Meda, although she lived a large part of her long life abroad, was always a great patriot and loved the Czech nation,” the museum said.

Jiri Pospisil, chairman of the museum’s board, said, “She believed in this idea throughout her life: ‘If the culture survives, the nation will survive.

Mladkova, born as Marie Sokolova on September 8, 1919, in Zakupi, Czechoslovakia, was studying political science in Geneva in 1948, when the Communists took control of then-Czechoslovakia. She refused to return and went to Paris after graduation.

She met her future husband, the exiled Czech banker Jan Mladek, in the French capital and studied art at the Sorbonne. There, too, he fell in love with the work of Kupka, a Czech-born pioneer of abstract art who was an unknown painter at the time. they became friends.

When Kupka was dying of cancer in 1957 – still an almost unknown artist – Mladek wanted to please him and told him that she would arrange “a large exhibition” of his works.

After Mladkova and her husband moved to the United States in 1960, she helped organize a Kupka retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1975.

Born in 1871, Kupka studied in Prague and Vienna before moving to Paris in 1896. In 1912, Kupka exhibited two works, “Fugue” and “Warm Chromatics”, now considered the first two completely abstract paintings.

To buy Kupka’s two expensive oils, Mladek and her husband had to sell their home in Washington for $950,000.

His efforts over many years have resulted in a collection of pencil studies, watercolours, colored pastels and oils that show the development of Kupka’s art from his student days to his late abstract pieces.

Meanwhile, Mladkova traveled to her homeland regularly after 1967, buying art pieces by artists that had been banned by the totalitarian communist regime.

After the death of her husband and the collapse of communism in 1989, Mladkova decided to move her collection of Kupka’s works to Prague.

“I thought this was the right place for them,” she told the Associated Press in a 2003 interview.

In the Czech capital, Mladkova opened Museum Kampa, a complex of carefully reconstructed historic buildings on the island of Kampa near Prague’s iconic Charles Bridge. It houses a valuable collection of 215 works by Kupka, who has become one of the country’s most famous painters.

The museum also displays sculptures by Czech Cubist artist Otto Gutfreund and a collection of modern Central and Eastern European art.

In 1999, Mladkova was awarded a state honor by the then President Vaclav Havel. In 2012, she became Commander of the French Order of Merit.

He donated his art collection to the city of Prague.


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