Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

The Third Exhibition of the Skupina výtvarných umělců (Fine Arts Group)

Date:May – June 1913

Place: Prague, Municipal House

Exhibition design:[Josef Gočár]

Conception:the Fine Arts Group committee


The third exhibition of the Skupina výtvarných umělců (Fine Arts Group) was quite unique in its concept. The committee consisting of Josef Gočár, František Kysela, Otto Gutfreund, Pavel Janák, Zdeněk Kratochvíl and Jan Thon decided that Skupina's members would not exhibit their own works and instead showcase an array of works of diverse age and provenance. “French” art was represented by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, André Derain and Juan Gris. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler lent most of these artworks, while a smaller contribution came from Vincenc Kramář and Max Dietzel who ran the Neuer Kunstsalon in Munich along with Paul Ferdinand Schmidt. Ardengo Soffici, an Italian painter, sent four woodcuts upon the committee's request. This part of the exhibition was supposed to contain works by Henri Rousseau. The organizers asked Wilhelm Uhde to lend the paintings but he refused. The section of older European art included casts of Gothic sculptures from the Czech lands, and there were also photographs of two works by El Greco and Rembrandt as well as several seventeenthcentury woodcuts. Folk art was well represented at the exhibition, with over 50 reverse glass paintings and several examples of largely nineteenth-century religious-themed carvings and ceramics from private collections of about twenty lenders. In addition to Skupina's members (Filla, Kysela, Gočár and Janák), other artists-collectors (sculptors Josef Mařatka and Emanuel Kodet) contributed to the exhibition, along with physicians (Adolf Lukl, Antonín Starý) and state officials (Václav Jaroslav Klofáč, a member of the imperial council). Further prominent artworks came from the Ethnographic Society in Pilsen and from Ladislav Lábek, a businessman, founder of the Pilsen Friends of Antiquities Club and organizer of artistic, ethnographic and conservationist activities in the Pilsen region. The poster for the exhibition, designed by František Kysela, was inspired by folk ornaments. The section dedicated to non-European art had a special place at the exhibition. It contained painted textiles from Sri Lanka as well as an ivory box and a small bronze altar from India, lent by the painter Otakar Nejedlý and the son of the industrialist František Melichar respectively. The catalogue also lists statuettes of gods from India acquired from František Wachsmann, a gilded bronze sculpture of Buddha from China and a Japanese wooden carving from the collection of Václav Jaroslav Klofáč. Thanks to Czech artists' contacts with the German milieu, it was possible to acquire a “negro” sculpture from the collection of the painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, although this turned out to be a forgery. Adolf Mikš, a professor at the Prague conservatory, contributed a pre-Columbian stone sculpture. This “exotic” section was complemented with photographs of African sculptures, on loan from Kahnweiler, and photographs of Indian and Chinese sculptures.

In the catalogue introduction, the painter Vincenc Beneš explains this seemingly incoherent melange of European and non-European artworks of different periods and styles. He writes about the young artists' admiration for old artworks “that address questions of volume, surface, geometric synthesis of form and perceive nature non-optically” [Beneš 1913, n. p.]. Rather than looking for identical sensibilities, the exhibition focused on finding formal parallels. This concept was far-reaching, including Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque art, ethnic and folk naïve art as well as art of the entire “Orient.” The Skupina members saw these works as sources of their own art and part of the new canon they were creating. Older but also contemporary art legitimized their own creative efforts; through it they became part of a new tradition. The artists' decision to exclude their own works from the exhibition can also be understood as an attempt on the part of Skupina members to create a collective artwork—an installation.

Tomáš Winter

Works Cited

Beneš 1913: Vincenc Beneš, [Introduction], in: III. výstava [Skupina výtvarných umělců], Praha: Skupina výtvarných umělců 1913, n. p.

Further Reading

Miroslav Lamač, Osma a Skupina výtvarných umělců 1907–1917, Praha 1988, pp. 185–187

Pavla Machalíková, Naturalistické versus naivní. Umění 19. století a lidové umění na stránkách Uměleckého měsíčníku, in: Tomáš Winter – Lenka Bydžovská – Pavla Machalíková – Taťána Petrasová (edd.), Rembrandtova tramvaj. Kubismus, tradice a „jiné“ umění, Plzeň – Praha 2015, pp. 130–143

Anna Masaryková, III. výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Umění XXX, 1982, pp. 379–381

Milada Studničková, Kopie jako iniciační artefakt. Svorník s tváří Krista kostela sv. Gotharda ve Sla-ném, in: Tomáš Winter et al. (edd.), Rembrandtova tramvaj. Kubismus, tradice a „jiné“ umění, Praha 2015, pp. 56–67

Tomáš Winter, A Fascination with Folk Art: Modernism and the Avant-Garde in Munich, Prague and Moscow around 1913, Umění LXII, 2016, no. 3–4, pp. 240–253

Tomáš Winter, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s ‘Negerplastik’ and the Mistake of Czech Cubists, Umění LXI, 2013, pp. 356–361

Exhibiting authors
The Third Exhibition of the Skupina výtvarných umělců (Fine Arts Group)
Technique: colour lithograph, paper, 143 x 110 cm
Owner: Museum of Czech Literature, Prague

Skupiny výtvarných umělců. III. výstava [The Third Exhibition of the Fine Arts Group]


Publisher: Fine Arts Group

Place and year of publication: Praha 1913

Author/s of the introduction:Beneš Vincenc
Reviews in the press
Čapek Josef

[Josef Čapek], Výstava obrazů Picassa, Braqua, Deraina, ukázky grafiky staré a moderní, umění li-dového a exotického. Pořádá Skupina V. U. v Praze, Volné směry XVII, 1913, pp. 205–206

Čapek Josef

Josef Čapek, Výstava obrazů Picassa, Braqua, Deraina, grafika stará a moderní, umění lidové a ex-otické, Lumír XLI, 1912–1913, no. 9, 19. 6. 1913, pp. 428–431

Čapek Karel

Karel Čapek, III. výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Česká revue [VI], 1912–1913, no. 9, pp. 572–574


-g-, III. výstava „Skupiny V. U.“, Přehled XI, 1912–1913, no. 38, 13. 6. 1913, pp. 640–641

Konůpek Jan

J. K. [Jan Konůpek], Jarní výstava „Manesa“ a III. výstava „Skupiny“ 1913, Veraikon II, 1913, no. 4, pp. 58–60

Tučný František

František Tučný, Výstava „Skupiny výtvarných umělců“, Národní obzor VII, 1912–1913, no. 30, 30. 5., p. 5

Views of the exhibition

View of the third exhibition of the Fine Arts Group

in the middle: Pablo Picasso, Head of Fernanda

on the wall: paintings by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso


Umělecký měsíčník II, 1912–191

View of the third exhibition of the Fine Arts Group

above: folk reverse glass painting and ceramics

below: Pablo Picasso, Head of Fernanda


Český svět IX, 1912–1912

photo: Jakub Nonnenmann

View of the third exhibition of the Fine Arts Group

above: folk reverse glass painting and ceramics


Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences

View of the third exhibition of the Fine Arts Group

in the middle: Indian box

from the right: Japanese, Indian and Chinese statuettes, curtain from Sri Lanka 

on the left: forgery of an African sculpture


Umělecký měsíčník II, 1912–1914

View of the third exhibition of the Fine Arts Group

curtain from Sri Lanka and the forgery of an African sculpture


Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, III. Výstava Skupiny V. U., Umělecký měsíčník II, 1912–1914, p. 198

Log in

Information about who is the administrator of user accounts and who to contact when there is a problem.

Forgotten password