Date:29. November 1933 – 31. January 1934
The solo retrospective exhibition of works by František Tkadlík was the first to popularize this Czech nineteenth-century artist, thus far overlooked by experts and the public alike. The exhibition was also meant as an opening show in a series of exhibitions planned by its author, Vincenc Kramář, to map Czech art after 1800. The series was meant to present the works of the Mánes family and Josef Führich, Josef Bergler’s student, who, along with Tkadlík, significantly influenced the local art scene in the early 19th century. The rediscovery of these painters would bring a new perspective to concepts such as Nazarenism, Romanticism and sentimental and fantasy painting.
In addition to taking a closer look at Tkadlík’s oeuvre, the exhibition also contributed to a reassessment of nineteenth-century art in general. Tkadlík had been an influential teacher and the director of the Prague Academy for almost four years, yet Czech art historians and the public overlooked him for quite a long time. Kramář aimed to change this with the 1933 exhibition, which confirmed Tkadlík as the direct predecessor and teacher of Josef Mánes and showed that his personal artistic style consisted of a number of complex evolutionary stages. His artistic outputs combine the monumental painting of the Italian Renaissance, German Romanticism, lyricism, Nazarene art and the modern realist perspective.
The exhibition halls of the Central Library, where the gallery was housed from 1931 onward, featured around forty oil paintings and over a hundred drawings, including sketchbooks containing studies, portraits, landscapes and religious themes. It was one of the first large shows in this exhibition space. The exhibited artworks were largely property of the Modern Gallery, Picture Gallery of the Society of Patriotic Friends of Fine Arts (SVPU), National Museum, or they came from private collections of important public figures such as the director of the Museum of Applied Arts Franišek Xaver Jiřík and lawyer Ludvík Popel. Among the many visitors were prominent officials such as František Staněk, then deputy of the Czechoslovak National Revolution Assembly, and the Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
The exhibition became an event of great sociocultural importance. Although cultural interests were largely oriented toward international and avantgarde art, Tkadlík’s work was a boost to the national consciousness of the Czechoslovak First Republic. As an exhibition of the early-nineteenth-century artist and essentially a contemporary of the national revivalists, it appealed to a specific patriotic feeling in society. Vincenc Kramář systematically sought to present works and documents concerning not only the SVPU’s collection from 1796 onward – the Modern Gallery which he headed was its direct successor – but also art in the Czech lands after 1800. This period was best represented by Tkadlík who, according to Kramář, brought about a synthesis of new colour, updated figural and landscape painting and created a specific offshoot of the Nazarene tradition, significantly influencing art in the Czech lands [Kramář 1933, p. 8].
In Kramář’s interpretation, Tkadlík built on tradition but simultaneously opened the road to Czech modernism. Kramář saw him as a key figure for the future development of local art. It is to Vincenc Kramář's credit that he helped rediscover Tkadlík by organizing his first comprehensive exhibition. It was not until 1960, when Eva Peterová published Tkadlík’s monograph, that his work received renewed attention. In 2017, the Regional Gallery in Liberec organized an exhibition of Tkadlík’s oeuvre, accompanied by a monograph including a complete catalogue of his works.
Kramář 1933: Vincenc Kramář, Katalog Výstavy obrazů a kreseb Františka Tkadlíka (exh. cat. Obrazárna SVPU), Praha 1933, pp. 6–8
Vincenc Kramář, Výstava Františka Tkadlíka, Magazín družstevní práce I, 1933, no. 7, pp. 199–200
Vincenc Kramář, Fr. Tkadlík, krajinář, Brno 1937
Šárka Leubnerová (ed.), František Tkadlík: 1786–1840, Praha 2017
Vojtěch Lahoda – Olga Uhrová, Vincenc Kramář: od starých mistrů k Picassovi (exh. cat.), Národní galerie v Praze 2000, pp. 165–167
Institute of Art History, CAS, Department of Documentation, fonds Vincenc Kramář, materiály k výstavě Františka Tkadlíka 1933 [materials concerning the exhibition of František Tkadlík], cards: III/3 (37–182), V/2 (1–39, 41–65), V/2 (138–174), VIII/3, IX/5 (passim, 9–53)
Výstava obrazů a kreseb Františka Tkadlíka [Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by František Tkadlík
Publisher: Picture Gallery of the Society of Patriotic Friends of Fine Arts
Place and year of publication: Praha 1933
anonymous author, Předchůdce Mánesův, in: Kulturní hlídka, Národní osvobození X, 1933, no. 305, 30. 12., p. 5pdf
anonymous author, Výstava maleb a kreseb františka Tkadlíka, učitele a předchůdce Josefa Mánese, Jas: rodinný ilustrovaný nepolitický deník VIII, 1934, no. 3, 12. 1., p. 4pdf
Anonymous author, Denní zprávy, Pražské noviny CCLIV, 1933, no. 278, 3. 12., p. 3
Anonymous author, Umění a osvěta, Pražské noviny CCLIV, 1933, no. 275, 30. 11, p. 4
Anonymous author, V den jihoslovanského státního svátku, Národní listy LXXIII, 1933, no. 330, 2. 12., p. 3
Anonymous author, Výstava malíře Františka Tkadlíka, Pražské noviny CCLIV, 1933, no. 275, 30. 11., p. 4
Anonymous author, Zahájení výstavy Fr. Tkadlíka, Národní listy LXXIII, 1933, p. 328, 30. 11., p. 5
Anonymous author, Výstavy, Lidové noviny XLI, 1933, no. 600, 30. 11., p. 6
Anonymous author, Výstavy, Lidové noviny XLI, 1933, no. 602, 1. 12., p. 10
Anonymous author, Výstavy, Legie, 1933, no. 49, 7. 12., p. 4
Adolf Veselý, Výtvarnické výstavy v Praze, Jas: rodinný ilustrovaný nepolitický deník VIII, 1934, no. 2, 5. 1., p. 4
Anonymous author, Zeitspiegel, Prager Presse XIII, 1933, no. 330, 2. 12., p. 4