Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

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

Date:15. February 1914 – 19. April 1914

Place: Prague, Municipal House

Organizer:Fine Arts Group

Conception:The Fine Arts Group committee


This show's concept followed on from Skupina's second exhibition and included works by both members and guests. However, the catalogue cites only Otakar Nejedlý and Max Pechstein as guests, even though other non-members were represented. The exhibition did not include works by Czech artists who had left Skupina in the fall of 1912 following the controversy around the character of new art and returned to the Mánes Fine Arts Association (Josef Čapek, Vlastislav Hofman, Josef Chochol, Ladislav Šíma and Václav Špála). International art was represented by Pablo Picasso (two paintings from the collection of Vincenc Kramář and two prints), etchings by Georges Braque and André Derain on loan from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, two works by Max Pechstein and two paintings by Edvard Munch purchased from his 1905 Prague exhibition (the now-missing Student Grove, on loan from the poet Tereza Koseová, and Dance on the Shore, then owned by the sculptor Stanislav Sucharda, now in the property of the National Gallery in Prague).

In addition to paintings, sculptures and prints by Skupina's members (Vincenc Beneš, Emil Filla, Otto Gutfreund and Antonín Procházka), the exhibition also included architectural drawings and furniture designs by Josef Gočár and Pavel Janák but no architectural models or actual furniture pieces. Unlike the previous exhibition of Skupina, no examples of furnished interiors were featured in the 1914 show.

The show did contain five statuettes from the Belgian Congo and Cameroon, complemented, as in the previous exhibition, with photographs of other non-European artworks. Otto Gutfreund's diary contains a note “5 negroes – Filla, Kramář” [Gutfreund 1913–1914, p. 38] suggesting that the African sculptures at the exhibition were borrowed from Vincenc Kramář, who is known to have owned African carvings in this period [Lahoda – Uhrová 2000, p. 264]. Filla, on the other hand, had no such objects in his possession before the First World War. The note cites him because he lent the photographs.

The African sculptures at Skupina's exhibitions did not enjoy much attention in the press and the mentions they did receive were mostly negative. Karel Čapek wrote that “the African sculptures at The Group's show had little value” [Čapek 1914, p. 190] and Arnošt Procházka expressed a similar opinion, saying that “these African statuettes are neither interesting nor refreshingly naive – they are just meagre and stiff” [Procházka 1914, p. 331]. Naturally, the themes discussed by reviewers at the time included the relationship between modern art and the “exotic” objects on display, and the question of whether this relationship is at all relevant for the development of contemporary art and society.

According to Otto Gutfreund's diary and correspondence, Filla suggested that the show include a painting by Henri Rousseau, a loan that he planned to organize with Vincenc Kramář’s help. The Skupina members also wanted to borrow Derain's Bathers, which the Mánes Fine Arts Association had purchased upon Filla's initiative in 1910 from the Prague exhibition of the Independents. Further plans included the presentation of paintings by Antonín Slavíček, a set of Impressionist works from the collection of Bernhard Köhler, a lithograph by Auguste Renoir from Kramář's collection and Auguste Rodin's drawing from the property of the sculptor Josef Mařatka. The painter Georg Kars was supposed to send three paintings to the exhibition [Šetlík 1989, p. 65]. However, none of these plans came to fruition.

A special place in the exhibition was dedicated to Zdeněk Kratochvíl, who presented an extensive retrospective of his satirical drawings and caricatures from his earliest works for the magazine Šibeničky all the way to the newest pieces. In the Czech milieu, this was the largest collection of satirical drawings and caricatures thus far to be showcased along with traditional artistic media at a modernist exhibition. Kratochvíl also contributed to Skupina's magazine Umělecký měsíčník (from Vol. II onward) where he had his own rubric named Veselý koutek [The Funny Corner]. In his drawings, Kratochvíl commented on the events of the Czech cultural scene. His drawing style drew on works by the German illustrator Thomas Theodor Heine and also directly from Expressionism and Cubism, an inspiration that was also reflected in his theoretical works. He understood caricature as an intellectual murder in the sphere of emotion, emphasizing its destructive aspect and connection to death: “Whoever said beauty, said death; whoever said earth, said murder. The realm of caricature is from this world” [Kratochvíl 1912, p. 188].

The Skupina's exhibition was relatively well-attended, evident from the fact that it was modified in late March and extended until April 19 in response to the public’s interest. Concurrently with this show, the Mánes Association held its own exhibition in the Pavilion in the Kinsky Garden entitled Modern Art, prepared by the French critic Alexander Mercereau. At the time, several former Skupina members returned to and exhibited with Mánes and so both events were seen as competing expressions of two different concepts of modern art or, more precisely, Cubism. This was also reflected in the art criticism of the period.

Tomáš Winter

Works Cited

Čapek 1914: Karel Čapek, 4. výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Lumír XLII, 1913–1914, no. 4, 13. 3. 1914, pp. 189–190

Gutfreund 1913–1914: Otto Gutfreund, Deník (1913–1914), in: idem, Zázemí tvorby, ed. Jiří Šetlík, Praha 1989, pp. 38–42

Kratochvíl 1912: Zdeněk Kratochvíl, Stanovisko karikaturistovo, Umělecký měsíčník I, 1911–1912, pp. 187–192

Lahoda – Uhrová 2000: Vojtěch Lahoda – Olga Uhrová (eds), Vincenc Kramář. Od starých mistrů v Picassovi, Praha 2000, p. 264

Procházka 1914: Hubert Cyriak [Arnošt Procházka], Výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců (v Obecním domě), Moderní revue XX (Vol. XXVIII), 1914, no. 7 (book 236), 8. 4., p. 331

Šetlík 1989: Jiří Šetlík, Komentář a poznámky k deníkům, in: Otto Gutfreund, Zázemí tvorby, ed. Jiří Šetlík, Praha 1989, pp. 59–72

Further Reading

Tomáš Winter, Palmy na Vltavě. Primitivismus, mimoevropské kultury a české výtvarné umění 1850–1950, Řevnice – Plzeň – Praha 2013, pp. 103–104

Tomáš Winter (ed.), Zajatec kubismu. Dílo Emila Filly v zrcadle výtvarné kritiky (1907–1953), Praha 2004, pp. 144–147

Exhibiting authors
The Fourth Exhibition of the Skupina výtvarných umělců (Fine Arts Group)
Technique: colour linocut, paper, 62 x 95 cm
Owner: Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague

Skupiny výtvarných umělců. IV. výstava [4th Exhibition of the Fine Arts Group]


Publisher: Fine Arts Group

Place and year of publication: Praha 1914

Reviews in the press

A. B., Výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Život a mythus I, 1914, no. 1–2, March, pp. 23–24

Čapek Josef

Josef Čapek, IV. výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Čas XXVIII, 1914, no. 97, 8. 4, pp. 2–3, in: idem, Publicistika II. Výtvarné eseje a kritiky 1905–1920, eds Mariana Dufková – Pavla Pečinková, Praha 2013, pp. 170–173

Čapek Karel

Karel Čapek, IV. výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Lumír XLII, 1913–1914, no. 4, 13. 3. 1914, pp. 189–190, in: idem, O umění a kultuře I, eds Emanuel Macek – Miloš Pohorský, Praha 1984, pp. 380–382

Hofman Vlastislav

Vlastislav Hofman, Výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Přehled XII, 1913–1914, no. 32, 22. 5. 1914, pp. 565–568, in: Jiří Padrta (ed.), Osma a Skupina výtvarných umělců 1907–1917. Teorie – kritika – polemika, Praha 1992, pp. 172–173

Macek Antonín

A. M. [Antonín Macek], Výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Právo lidu XXIII, 1914, 2nd appendix to no. 87, 29. 3., pp. 1–2

Marvánek Otakar

Otakar Marvánek, Praha ve znamení kubismu, Česká kultura II, 1913–1914, no. 14–15, 9. 4. 1914, pp. 227–229

Procházka Arnošt

Hubert Cyriak [Arnošt Procházka], Výstava Skupiny výtvarných umělců (v Obecním domě), Moderní revue XX (vol. XXVIII), 1914, no. 7 (book 236), 8. 4., p. 331

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, IV. Výstava. Skupiny výtvarných umělců, Volné směry XVIII, 1915, appendix Zprávy k Volným směrům I, no. 1–3, n. p.

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