Date:8. January 1904 – 28. January 1904
Place: Brno, Gerstbauer Foundation House
Exhibition design:Camillo Palleta
In 1903, Mährischer Kunstverein rented exhibition spaces in Gestbauer Foundation House (Gerstbauersches Stiftungshaus), a move that allowed it to organize its exhibitions year-round. It no longer held annual exhibitions and instead focused on presenting the work of art associations and individual artists. Mährischer Kunstverein used this new approach to showcase the oeuvre of prominent Moravian artist living in Vienna. Compared to annual exhibitions, solo shows were still a novelty even in the European context and had yet to reach general popularity. For Vienna-based Moravian painters, a solo exhibition in Brno was an attractive opportunity to showcase their work. Eduard Kasparides (1858–1926) received this opportunity in 1904. Although he graduated from the Academy of Fine Ats in Vienna in the early 1880s, it was not until around 1900 that Kasparides managed to establish himself in the art world. His oeuvre can be divided into three clearly defined artistic periods. Until the beginning of the 1890s, Kasparides made what were back then already archaic figural paintings based on chiaroscuro and traditional academic compositions. Later on, he found his way to symbolist naturalism, a more progressive trend at the time. At the end of the decade, he switched from figural themes to symbolist landscapes and began to reap success, receiving art awards at important exhibitions while his works were purchased for state collections.
Kasparides exhibited 29 paintings in Brno, mostly his latest landscapes, but also two of his large figural paintings from the end of the 1890s, Paradise Lost and Christ with the Overworked and Burdened. Both of these canvases were very expensive; the former was offered for 10,000 Crowns and the latter for 12,000 Crowns. Kasparides made these works in his second period characterized by figural symbolist naturalism. The painting Christ with the Overworked and Burdened first appeared at the Viennese Künstlerhaus exhibition in 1899 under the title I Am the Path – Truth – Life and was nominated for the Imperial Prize, the most prestigious art award at the time. The painting is now kept in the collection of the Museum of Moravská Třebová under the title Blessing. Its sale price of 12,000 crowns ranks among the highest payed for the more elborate paintings offered at the Mährischer Kunstverein.
Both figurative paintings were presented as highlights of Kasparides’s earlier oeuvre. The rest of the exhibition featured landscapes, which were Kasparides’s most recent works. The switch to landscape painting brought Kasparides continuing success. In 1899, he received the Königswarter Prize for his canvas Autumn Evening in the Prater at the annual exhibition in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. In 1900, he received a small gold medal for his painting Heustadlwasser. It is possible that one of these paintings appeared at the Brno exhibition under the title Autumn Evening (Heustadelwasser in Prater). Because the catalogue of the Brno exhibition contains neither reproductions of the artworks nor photographs of the show, we may only speculate about this, especially since the depictions of the themes explored in this painting appear repeatedly in the artist's work.
Around 1900, solo exhibitions were still a relatively new phenomenon. Even the most prominent artists enjoyed this privilege only once in their lifetime. In the Vienna Künstlerhaus, solo shows were usually mid-sized collections of paintings attached to a larger exhibition, such as the annual exhibitions. In Brno, a solo show in the proper sense of the word would usually offer a representative selection of the artist’s oeuvre. Kasparides’s exhibition, however, was an exception presenting the painter’s latest works (except for the two somewhat earlier canvases), likely because it was precisely his latest, landscape period that brought him long-awaited success in the art world. The conception thus resulted from quite utilitarian circumstances. Yet, in the Mährischer Kunstverein’s milieu, this was the first exhibition to foreshadow what is now common practice – an exhibition as a presentation of an artist’s latest works.
Robert Janás, Mährischer Kunstverein v letech 1882–1918. Dějiny a výstavní činnost spolku, dizertační práce, MU FF Brno 2001, pp. 150–154
Robert Janás, Eduard Kasparides na cestě k symbolismu, Umění/Art LV, 2007, pp. 150–154
Robert Janás, Eduard Kasparides, Moravská Třebová 2008
-h., Kunstausstellung, Tagesbote LIV, 1904, no. 26, Abendblatt, 16. 1., pp. 1–2pdf
Anonymous author, Theater und Kunst, Tagesbote LIV, 1904, no. 10, Abendblatt, 7. 1., p. 4; no. 14, Abendblatt, 9. 1., p. 4; no. 36, Abendblatt, 22. 1., p. 4; no. 42, Abendblatt, 26. 1., p. 4; no. 45, Morgenblatt, 28. 1., p. 4
Anonymous author, (Kunstausstellung), Brünner Zeitung, 1904, no. 6, 9. 1., p. 3