Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Georg Kars

Date:January 1934

Place: Prague, Dr. Feigl Gallery

Organizer:Hugo Feigl

Conception:Hugo Feigl


Georges Kars (Jiří Karpeles, 1882–1945) was born to a Jewish family in Kralupy nad Vltavou. In 1908, following his art studies in Munich, he left for Paris, and the city became his home for almost three decades. Beginning at the end of the 1920s, he visited the Catalan seaside town of Tossa de Mar near Barcelona. Fernand Benet, a local collector and art patron, offered to host Kars in his home, and Kars and his wife spent their summers there. Thanks to Benet, the town became a popular destination for painters, including Marc Chagall and Jean Metzinger, who visited it regularly. Kars was very active there, helping found the local museum and initiating competitions in speed painting. The Spanish town also inspired oil paintings, gouaches and drawings that Kars presented at his 1934 exhibition at the Dr. Feigl Gallery. This was not Kars's first show with Feigl – in the spring of 1931, he exhibited 38 artworks at Feigl's private gallery, including his portrait of the sculptor Otto Gutfreund from 1913. The rest of the paintings depicted mostly Spanish themes, such as paintings entitled Toreador and Moorish Woman. The 1931 catalogue introduction was authored by Kars's friend Waldemar George (1893–1970), an art critic of Polish-French origin, who emphasized the line and plastic fiction as the primary characteristics of Kars's painting. 

The 1933 catalogue, subtitled A Trip to Spain, has no introduction – it is a simple four-page booklet containing the list of 35 works on display. Most of them are oil paintings, followed by drawings and three gouaches. The subjects largely draw on Kars's sojourns in Tossa de Mar, with titles such as Fish Market, Morning in the Harbour and Fishing Boats making reference to the seaside atmosphere of the holiday resort. In addition to views of the harbour, neighbouring houses and the town's main landmarks such as the square, church and crumbling walls, the exhibition featured portraits, nudes and one still life. Some of the paintings are now in state collections: the painting Mending the Nets is now in Moravian Gallery in Brno and Portrait of Mrs. S is likely identical with Portrait of Ms SuvičA Black Glove in the Gallery of Fine Art in Ostrava. Some of the drawings at the exhibition, such as Odalisque, Fish Market and Mending the Nets have the same titles as Kars's oils and so it is very likely that they were sketches for these paintings. However, most of the works listed in the catalogue are now difficult to find. 

In addition to the modest catalogue, important information about the exhibition comes from reviews and reports in the press. Some newspapers referred to Kars as a Czech-German artist but none would explicitly mention his Jewish origin. Critics mostly took note of Kars's reduced palette, the absence of southern light and the lack of “Spanish character.” For example, the reviewer for Národní listy wrote: "His Spain is almost neutrally un-Spanish ... All the landscapes stretch under the monotone, slightly gloomy sky ... as if the southern light did not glow there” [jrm 1934]. In Pražské noviny, the critic points out that Kars subdues colour contrasts, “giving them the common denominator of a peculiar cloudy grey, which persists even in brighter tones, thanks to the chalky and drab character of the colour.” [F. K. 1934]. Kars's drawing style was another often-discussed theme. The critic for Právo lidu emphasized Kars's “heavy drawing” and “contouring that burdens his paintings rather than giving them a graphic lightness” [anonymous author 1934b]. The review in the daily Ranní noviny offers a similar view: “... the unnecessary contours are a disruptive element, which weighs the paintings down”  [anonymous author 1934a]. 

Reviewers also discussed Kars's sources of inspiration and his place in contemporary art. Viktor Nikodým from Národní osvobození regarded Kars as a realist, placing him “somewhere between Derain and Matisse” [N. 1934]. An anonymous author from Právo lidu also adds Zrzavý to the list. This reviewer sees Kars as an adherent of “international modernism,” referring to his oeuvre as “eclectic in a good way” [anonymous author 1934b]. In his review for Prager Presse. Jaromír Pečírka points out Kars's nudes influenced by Degas and Japanese prints. The illustrated magazine Lada, published in Mladá Boleslav, offered an analysis of Kars's evolution as a painter: “His first period is impressionist, the second is expressionist and the third brings synthesis of line and colour.” In an interview, also published in Lada, Kars says that “anybody who creates ... leaves reality (concret) to find abstraction (abstrait)” [E. M. U. 1934]. 

A critic in Pražské noviny observed the general development of Kars’ work: “In the orchestra of Parisian painting, Kars is no progressive force. Rather, he represents the average, but with a particular flavour and its own high standard” [F. K. 1934]. Viktor Nikodým concludes his text in Národní osvobození with this comment: “It is a tasteful, artistically refined tourist reportage” [N. 1934]. The reviews were generally quite positive. The reviewers offered occasional criticism but the overall tone was in favour of the exhibition.

Kars clearly had a very good relationship with Hugo Feigl. In 1930, he took part in Feigl’s 1930s Exhibition of Jewish Artists of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and one year later, Feigl curated Kars's first solo exhibition in Prague. In January 1934, Feigl organized another, equally successful, show of Kars's works. As evident from his following exhibitions, Feigl's interest in Jewish artists living abroad was ongoing and also included Czechoslovak painters and sculptors. 

Kars's 1934 exhibition preceded his comprehensive solo exhibition at Mánes in 1937, which already showcased works from all periods of his oeuvre. 

Eva Janáčová

Works Cited

anonymous author 1934a: anonymous author, Výstava Jiřího Karse ve Feiglově galerii, Ranní noviny II, 1934, 24. 1.
anonymous author 1934b: anonymous author, Z nových výstav, Právo lidu XXXXIII, 1934, 26. 1. 
E. M. U. 1934: E. M. U., Georges Kars, Paříž: Výlet do Španělska 1933, Lada LVI, 1934, 8. 2. 
F. K. 1934: F. K., Kars opět v Praze, Pražské noviny III, 1934, 22. 2. 
jrm 1934: jrm, Georg Kars, Národní listy LXXIV, 1934, 25. 1. 
N. 1934: N. [Viktor Nikodým], V Galerii Dr. Feigla, Národní osvobození XI, 1934, 27. 1. 

Further Reading

Georg Kars. Okouzlený pozorovatel (exh. cat.), Cheb – Liberec 1997
Jan Racek, Jiří Kars, Soupisový katalog umělcových děl v majetku Městského muzea ve Velvarech, Kralupy nad Vltavou 2010
Jiří Siblík, Georges Kars, Praha 1999

Exhibiting authors

Georges Kars (Paříž). Výlet do Španělska 1933 [Georges Kars (Paris). A Trip to Spain] 1933

Publisher: Dr. Feigl Gallery

Place and year of publication: Praha, 1934



Reviews in the press

anonymous author, Výstava Jiřího Karse ve Feiglově galerii, Ranní noviny II, 1934, 24. 1. 


anonymous author, Z nových výstav, Právo lidu XXXXIII, 1934, 26. 1. 


E. M. U., Georges Kars, Paříž: Výlet do Španělska 1933, Lada LVI, 1934, 8. 2.


F. K., Kars opět v Praze, Pražské noviny III, 1934, 22. 2. 


jrm, Georg Kars, Národní listy LXXIV, 1934, 25. 1. 


M. F., Ausflug nach Spanien, Sozialdemokrat Prag XIV, 1934, 21. 1. 

Nikodem Viktor

N. [Viktor Nikodým], V Galerii Dr. Feigla, Národního osvobození XI, 1934, 27. 1. 

Pečírka Jaromír

J. Pečírka, Georges Kars in der Galerie Dr. Feigl, Prager Presse XIV, 1934, 25. 1. 


R. F., Ausstellung Georges Kars, Prager Tagblatt LIX, 1934, 20. 1. 

Brief notes about the exhibition

an, Výlet G. Karse do Španělska, A-zet, Bratislava, 1934, 27. 1. 
ič, Georges Kars v Galerii dra Feigla, Lidové noviny XXXXII, 1934, 27. 1. 


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