Gallery spol. s r. o.

František Tichý  

The City Gallery Prague, 
House of the Stone Bell,
Old Town Square 13, Prague 1

20. 11. 2002 – 2. 3. 2003

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 Open daily except Mondays from 10 AM to 6 PM

Entrance fee CZK 100,
 reduction CZK 50

Guided exhibition tours every Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

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Painter, drawer, graphic artist, illustrator and stage designer FRANTIŠEK TICHÝ (March 25th, 1896 – October 7th, 1961 in Prague) was admired even in his lifetime and his work became a part of  the golden treasure of the Czech modern art. As it has not been presented  in all its complexity and width in Prague for a long time the exhibition has been designed with the aim to show his work including (in addition to fine arts) a very impressive and quality section of illustrations, samples of posters, jewellery and theatre work that interested Tichý from the early stage of his activity.


Gymnasts on a Trapeze, 1930
gouache, paper, 46 x 36,5 cm
private collection


Clown’s Head, 1931
gouache, paper, 53,2 x 37, 2 cm
Gallery of Modern Arts in Roudnice nad Labem


The first part of the exhibition of a rather modest size represents the period before the stay in Paris and it presents samples of portraits, still lives and the first contacts with the world of circus and conjurers, in which the artist strove to find his individual distinctive mark but still struggled with some technical difficulties, mainly in painting. Nevertheless, some of his work started to show lightness, drawing virtuosity and distinctive touch.


Cachan, 1930-1931
oil, oil, canvas, 35,5 x 82 cm
private collection


 Klaun Grock, 1932
pencil, charcoal, gouache, paper, 34,5 x 19,2 cm
Art Museum Olomouc


 White Top Hat (Magician Still Life), 1933
oil, canvas, 41 x 59 cm
National Gallery in Prague


 The Parisian period (1930–1935) is the zenith of Tichý’s work. In Paris he achieved technical mastery (under the influence of  Seurat, Redon and the old masters, mainly of the rococo style). He defined all his main thematic spheres there – bullfight, streets, retreats and roofs of Paris, the world of circus and street and pub conjurers and portraits of his close friends. They naturally included still lives which he perceived as one of the essential painter’s roles. The exhibition shows examples of all the main themes of that period. We can see that Paris and the experience of France, its culture and landscape formed the foundation stone of Tichý’s artistic maturation and the biggest inspiration of his very personal way of expression.


 Ventriloquist, 1934
oil, tempera, paper, 52 x 38 cm
West Bohemian Gallery in Pilsen


Clown’s Head (Fratellini), 1937
oil, canvas, 37,5 x 23,3 cm
National Gallery in Prague


 Commedia dell´arte, 1938
gouache, cardboard, 64 x 94 cm
Art Museum Olomouc


The third part of the exhibition includes the work from the return to Prague in 1935 till 1945 that very intensively and successfully labours the experience acquired in France. The above mentioned themes are joined by themes from the New Testament, commedie dell'arte, Don Quijote and Paganini. In that period the artist started to go in for graphics systematically. His masterful knowledge of artistic techniques allowed Tichý to switch from one technique to another without any problems and to combine them very untraditionally. However, always with respect to the creative intention. It was a time of great work intensity and the biggest success. It was crowned by the appointment to a professorship at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.  


Circus Rider, 1957
charcoal, aquarelle, paper, 19,5 x 30,6 cm
Aleš South Bohemian Gallery, Hluboká nad Vltavou


It opens the concluding part of the exhibition in which all Tichý’s themes are further developed but there are more illustrations and small occasional pieces of graphic art. Generally, graphics occupies more space in Tichý’s work as he grows older. In that phase he lost his pedagogical position (1951) and his work was branded as formalistic. Despite the general opinion that his final stage led to a certain drop of quality we succeeded in getting a number of pieces proving that in happy moments Tichý was capable to create masterpieces till the end of his life.  At that time he worked on his most important stage projects  (Aida, Petrushka in the National Theatre in 1948).

         František Tichý was a remarkable solitaire of our arts. He consciously continued the traditional arts by his focus on perfect craft, however, he used it for very modern and original artistic expression. The world of circus and the world of theatre, so frequently depicted in the artist’s work, is simultaneously a parable of the essence of artistic work. He understood it as a pinnacle whose radiant lightness cannot show any signs of hard work that led to its creation.

         We succeeded in gathering a complex collection showing most Tichý’s renowned pieces and depicting important moments in his work. The exhibition could be organised thanks to co-operation of a number of galleries that lent Tichý’s work from their collections. It was mainly the National Gallery in Prague, the Modern Arts Gallery in Roudnice, the Benedikt Rejt’s Gallery in Louny and the Art Museum in Olomouc.  Other works were borrowed from other galleries and private collection which helped us to prepare a representative presentation of the artist


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Exhibit author: Jana Orlíková


Specialist co-operation:   Tomáš Winter,
Polana Bregantová,
Vlasta Koubská


Co-ordinator: Marie Rakušanová


Authors of installation: Tomáš Štajnc, Jana Orlíková


Graphic design: Světla Kořánová


Exhibit assistance: Marta Nožková
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