Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Peter Brandl 1668–1735

Date:23. September 1911 – 30. October 1911

Place: Prague, Rudolfinum

Organizer:Fine Arts Association, Society for the Appreciation of Czech Painting

Conception:Rudolf Kuchynka


The first comprehensive exhibition of works by the Baroque painter Peter Brandl in 1911 was the result of the increasing interest in works by Czech artists and the activity of a small group of art patrons named Society for the Appreciation of Czech Painting (Kroužek přátel umění malířského). This group's goal was to rediscover older, half-forgotten or undervalued Czech painters and deepen public knowledge about their work [Hylmar 2018, p. 175]. The group had previously organized exhibitions of paintings by Josef Matěj Navrátil and Karl Škréta in 1909 and 1910. Following the Brandl show, they prepared the joint exhibition of Wenzel Lorenz Reiner and Jan Kupecký in 1913.

The Society for the Appreciation of Czech Painting was represented by its chairman, František Vejdělek; other members included Rudolf Kuchynka, František Braun, Alois Engelbrecht, Prokop Toman, Arnošt Živný, Jan Krčmář and Josef Prušák. The exhibition's jury consisted of Karel Chytil, Karel Boromejský Mádl, Rudolf Kuchynka and Pavel Bergner, the head of the Picture Gallery of the Society of Patriotic Friends of Fine Arts (Společnost vlasteneckých přátel umění, SVPU). Fine Arts Association (Krasoumná jednota), represented by its secretary Rudolf Weinert, provided the exhibition space and the project's overall organization.

The exhibition was preceded by extensive, systematic research into preserved monuments as well as a complex examination of the paintings. The working committee, consisting of members of both the Association and the exhibition jury, first drafted up a list of paintings to be loaned or authenticated. They selected over forty localities and collections belonging to church and public institutions, church orders and aristocracy, which reportedly contained almost a hundred paintings by Peter Brandl. The core of the exhibition came from collections of the SVPU's picture gallery, Prague archbishopric and Strahov Monastery’s picture gallery. The organizers also contacted private collectors—physicians, lawyers, state officials and businessmen.

In addition to well-known paintings by Brandl, Society's members also engaged the public in searching for theretofore unknown works of Brandl’s oeuvre. On March 3, 1911 both Czech and German dailies published a call for owners of potential works by Brandl to make their paintings accessible for assessment and possible display.

All the negotiations, research and evaluations resulted in a successful exhibition opening on September 23, 1911 at the Rudolfinum. The show in the end featured 64 paintings made by Brandl or attributed to him. The exhibition ended on October 30, 1911. It was accompanied by a small catalogue with reproductions of the paintings, printed by Jan Štenc's print works.

Both the exhibition and Brandl's oeuvre received positive reviews in the press with most of the articles written by the exhibition's authors. In the magazine Zlatá Praha, Karel B. Mádl explained how the paintings had been selected and also noted that the members of the exhibition committee neither removed paintings with unclear authorship from the selection, nor marked all of the works as Brandl's. Rudolf Kuchynka emphasized that the exhibition presented entirely unknown or theretofore inaccessible paintings, such as those from the archbishop's palace and the Mělník chateau. 

Emila Filla's text in Umělecký měsíčník diverged from these positive reactions. Filla says that “whoever only judged Brandl from his well-known painting 'Simeon with Infant Jesus,' hoping that his exhibition would bring more of the same and better, will feel disappointment and awkward sadness just glancing through the exhibition” [Filla 1911, p. 48]. He saw Brandl's work as marked by “conventional and affected sketchiness and superficiality, characteristics so painfully typical of most Baroque artists” [ibidem].

With 5,400 visitors, Brandl's exhibition enjoyed great success with both historians and the general public. The organizers used all means available at the time to gather artworks for the exhibition, and as a result, they managed to discover new paintings by Brandl and confirm his authorship in the case of several other works. Asking the public for help with searching for new Brandls turned out to be a success, in which the national factor played a role, as it was largely Czech citizens who responded to the call. The whole project raised fundamental questions about the need to study painters' works in their context and trace the artists' social relations and ties to artistic currents in other countries; that is, to apply a broader scholarly approach to the matter [Hylmar 2018, pp. 177–179]. This was also connected with Mádl's progressive suggestion to publish monographs of individual artists and write a comprehensive history of Czech art [Mádl 1913, p. 1].

Tomáš Hylmar

Works Cited

Filla 1911: Emil Filla, Brandlova výstava v Rudolfině, Umělecký měsíčník I, 1911, no. 1, pp. 48–49

Hylmar 2018: Tomáš Hylmar, Výstavy děl Petra Brandla v letech 1911 a 1969. Okolnosti vzniku výstav, jejich organizace a ohlas v tisku, in: Andrea Steckerová (ed.), Petr Brandl (1668–1735): studie, Praha 2018, pp. 175–186

Mádl 1913: Karel B. Mádl, Brandliana, Národní listy LIII, 1913, no. 15, 16. 1., p. 1

Further Reading

Jaromír Neumann, Petr Brandl 1668–1735 (exh. cat.), National Gallery in Prague 1968

Jaromír Neumann, Petr Brandl (ed. Andrea Steckerová), Praha 2016

Archival Sources

Archive of the National Gallery in Prague, fonds Krasoumná jednota (1842–1939), Korespondence [Correspondence], Brandlova výstava [Brandl Exhibition], 1911

Archive of the National Gallery in Prague, fonds Společnost vlasteneckých přátel umění [Society of Patriotic Friends of Fine Arts] (1796–1953), Krasoumná jednota, doklady k výstavám [documents concerning exhibitions], (1796–1953), 1851–1930 Archive of the National Gallery in Prague, fonds Jaroslav Prokop (1939–2018), Dokumentace [Docu-mentation], Petr Brandl, 1904–2005
Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Science, fonds Rudolf Kuchynka (1869–1925), Materiály z veřejné činnosti [Documents Concerning Public Activities], Výstava Petra Brandla [Peter Brandl Exhibition], 1911

Exhibiting authors
Peter Brandl 1668–1735
Technique: paper, 93,5×64,5 cm
Owner: Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences

Opening of the Exhibition of Works by the Czech Master Peter Jan Brandl 


Peter Brandl 1668–1735


Publisher: Krasoumná jednota pro Čechy (Kunstverein für Böhmen)

Place and year of publication: Praha 1911


Author/s of the introduction:Mádl Karel Boromejský
Reviews in the press
Filla Emil

Emil Filla, Brandlova výstava v Rudolfině, Umělecký měsíčník I, 1911, no. 1, pp. 48–49

Harlas František Xaver

František Xaver Harlas, Výstava obrazů Petra J. Brandla v Rudolfině, Osvěta XXXXI, 1911, pp. 782–783

Herain Karel Vladimír

Karel Vladimír Herain, Výstava prací Petra Brandla (1668–1735), České slovo V, 1911, no. 302, 3. 12., pp. 9–11

Mádl Karel Boromejský

Karel Boromejský Mádl, Výstava děl Petra Brandla, Zlatá Praha XXIX, 1912, no. 3, pp. 33–34

Views of the exhibition

Peter Brandl 1668–1735

view of the exhibition hall

from left to right: Portrait of the Prague Archbishop Ferdinand of Khuenburg, Simeon with Infant Jesus, Baptism of Christ

Peter Brandl 1668–1735

view of the exhibition hall

on the left: Assumption of the Virgin

on the right: Penitent Magdalene

Peter Brandl 1668–1735

view of the exhibition hall

from left to right: The Virgin and Child, Adoration of the Magi

Peter Brandl 1668–1735

view of the exhibition hall

in the middle: All Saints with the Holy Trinity

on the right: Annunciation: Archangel Gabriel


Peter Brandl 1668–1735

view of the exhibition halls

at the back: Portrait of Marie Sophie of Lobko-witz, née Dietrichstein

on the very right: unknown painting

Brief notes about the exhibition

Jaroslav Kamper, Eröffnung der J. P. Brandl Ausstellung, Union L, 1911, no. 264, 24. 9., p. 1

Rudolf Kuchynka, Výstava prací malíře Petra Brandla, Časopis Společnosti přátel starožitností českých v Praze XIX, pp. 177–178

Karel B. Mádl, Brandliana, Národní listy LIII, 1913, no. 15, 16. 1., p. 1

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