Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Exhibition of Czech Women Painters


At the turn of the 20th century, Turnov and other towns in the Czech countryside traditionally held agricultural and industrial exhibitions called Regional Exhibitions of Agriculture, Industry, and Crafts. These shows provided an opportunity for manufacturers and farmers to present their products, but they also aimed to attract visitors from far and wide and boost the town’s economy. In the case of Turnov, such exhibition activities could flourish thanks to the town’s location on the railway line, which opened there in 1903, encouraging tourists to visit. Art exhibitions developed gradually in Turnov, from small shows of apprentices and students of local schools to larger events organized by the local association of art-going citizens. In 1907, Turnov saw the exhibition of etchings by Vojtěch Preissig and paintings by Karel Vik; Jan Dědina exhibited there in 1909. The first show to take place in the Turnov Realschule (1910) presented works of Beneš Knüpfer, followed by the exhibition of lace and embroidery from the Turnov region [X. 1911]. The exhibition of Czech women painters was thus the third art show in the Realschule but the first of its kind in the Czech regions [Anonymous author 1911c]. Prof. František Hoffmann, the headmaster of the k. und k. Realschule and the leading figure of the Friends of Art Association, was very committed to the project [Anonymous author 1911d].

The exhibition was open daily from 10 am to 5 pm for the fee of 50 hallers. The opening was held on July 16, 1911, at 10 am in the Realschule building, with many artists and other important persons attending the event [P. 1911]. In addition to several regional politicians, participants included Karel Brousek, representative of Jednota výtvarných umělců (Union of Fine Arts), the writer Abigail Horáková, Mr. Chodounský M. D. and his daughter, the painter Marie Chodounská, and finally, the painter and teacher Karel Myslbek. However, the artists themselves were at the centre of attention. In addition to Marie Chodounská, there was Kateřina Mašková-Bušková, an illustrator and flower painter, the printmaker Augusta Lhotová and her sister, Anna Roškotová, and, above all, Zdenka Braunerová [Anonymous author 1911b]. Since the response to the Turnov exhibition was very positive and the news spread quickly, more prominent visitors came to see it, including Rozálie Pokorná-Purkyňová, Ludmila Janovská-Kleinmondová [Anonymous author 1911d], and the pedagogue Josefa Hrdinová, who represented the Czech Women’s Club [Anonymous author 1911c].

According to articles in the press, the region where the exhibition took place had a symbolical meaning because Pojizeří and particularly the Hruboskalsko region were a favourite destination of Amálie Mánesová, who stayed there in the 1860s with her brother, Josef Mánes. Most of the participating artists also had a close relationship with the region. For example, Marie Chodounská painted in the area around Sedmihorky and Božena Vohánková presented several views of the Pojizeří landscape. The show aimed to give an overview of the women artists’ output and capture how their art developed from the early periods to the youngest generation. This rare event also gained prestige thanks to private collectors who lent works by no longer living artists. The show represented approximately 40 artists, including accredited painters, students, and dilettantes [P. 1911]. The five studio rooms contained over 300 paintings, drawings, etchings, and sculptures. There was also a collection of applied arts [Anonymous 1911b].

The overview began with Amálie Mánesová, presenting mainly her landscape watercolours. Although her work was valued at the time and today, she is considered the first Czech woman artist, contemporary critics described her artistic approach as outdated and lacking the due reflection of modern developments [P. 1911]. The retrospective part of the exhibition also included Pepa Mařáková, Marie Dostálová, and many other no longer living artists [Anonymous author 1911a]. Several of the works by mostly deceased artists from Prague collections made it to the exhibition through Dr. J. V. Šimák, a Prague-based Turnov native, who also authored the exhibition catalogue [Anonymous author 1911b].

The second part of the show was dedicated to living women artists and covered the work of almost all women involved in art at that time. These included Maryna Alšová, daughter of the painter Mikoláš Aleš, Helena Emingerová, Zdenka Kalašová, Jelena Pinkasová, Zdeňka Braunerová, Anna Suchardová-Boudová (the sister of sculptors Stanislav and Vojtěch Sucharda), and many others. At the end of the show, an editor of the periodical Hlasy pojizerské wrote: “Our exhibition demonstrates quite well what the eye of our women painters is attracted to, what they say to the world in the language of fine art." [Jbk 1911]

Until then, women’s art was presented mainly in Prague, at exhibitions organized by various art associations such as Krasoumná jednota (Fine Arts Association), Umělecká beseda (Artistic Club), and later the Mánes Association. But these shows represented women alongside their male colleagues, so they were not dedicated exclusively to women as in Turnov. After 1900, women began to join art associations and found women-oriented clubs, actions that boosted their ambition to showcase their work. Associations such as the Women Artists’ Section of the Dürer Union, the Association of German Women Painters, and the Circle of Women Artists were inseparable parts of the cultural and artistic world until the mid-20th century. As mentioned in the introduction, the town of Turnov enjoyed a strategic location on the railway line which, along with the town’s lively commercial spirit, helped attract large groups of visitors to the exhibition in the local Realschule. Tourists appreciated this cultural experience while waiting for their train connection. Although the show was barely mentioned in Prague periodicals and prompted no critical response, it reverberated strongly in Pojizeří and the surrounding regions. From the beginning, locals received it positively and with great interest. Several artworks were sold soon after the opening [Anonymous author 1911c]. The exhibition even received attention in international press – reports about it appeared in Croatian and South Slavic newspapers [Anonymous author 1911c]. The Exhibition of Czech Women Painters offered a new perspective on the work of Czech women artists and became a foundational event for future women’s art shows. 

Kamila Červinková

Works Cited

Anonymous author 1911a: Anonymous author, Umělecká výstava 1911 v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 11, 7. 5., p. 3

Anonymous author 1911b: Anonymous author, Výstava českých malířek v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 17, 30.7., pp. 2-3

Anonymous author 1911c: Anonymous author, Výstava českých malířek v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 18, 6.8., pp. 2-3

Anonymous author 1911d: Anonymous author, Zprávy z Turnova, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 19, 20.8., p. 3

Jbk 1911: Jbk, Výstava českých malířek, Hlasy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 16, 27.8., pp. 3-4

P. 1911: P., Literatura a umění, Ženský svět XV, 1911, no. 20.7., p. 222

X. 1911: X., Literatura a umění, Ženský svět XV, 1911, no. 16, 20.9., p. 252

Further Reading

 Libuše Heczková – Martina Pachmanová – Petr Šámal, Jak odlesk měsíce v jezeře. Česká teorie a kritika umění v genderových souvislostech, 1865–1945, Řevnice 2014, p. 115, 216–220

Martina Pachmanová, Zrození umělkyně z pěny limonády: genderové kontexty české moderní teorie a kritiky umění, Praha 2013, pp. 122–125

Exhibiting authors
Exhibition of Czech Women Painters
Owner: Museum of the Bohemian Paradise in Turnov
Exhibition of Czech Women Painters
Owner: Museum of the Bohemian Paradise in Turnov

Comprehensive Exhibition of Czech Women Painters in Turnov: Painting, Sculpture, Applied Arts


Publisher: Jan Jiránek Press in Turnov

Place and year of publication: Turnov 1911

Author/s of the introduction:Šimák J. V.
Reviews in the press

Anonymous author, Umělecká výstava 1911 v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 11, 7. 5., p. 3


Anonymous author, Výstava českých malířek v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 17, 30. 7., pp. 2–3


Anonymous author, Souborná umělecká výstava prací českých malířek v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 18, 6. 8., p. 2


Anonymous author, Zprávy z Turnova, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 19, 20. 8., p. 3


Anonymous author, Denní zprávy, Národní listy LI, 1911 no. 140, p. 5


Anonymous author, Umění, věda a osvěta, Čas  XXV, 1911, no. 145,27.5. pp. 4–5


Anonymous author, Umění, věda a osvěta, Čas XXV, 1911, no. 210, 1. 8., pp. 3–4


Anonymous author, Ze ženského světa, Šťastný domov VII, 1911, no. 21, p. 579


E. B., Umění, Věda a osvěta, Čas XXV, 1911, no. 194, 16. 7., p. 5


P., Literatura a umění, Ženský svět XIV, 1911, 20. 7., p. 222


X., Literatura a umění, Ženský svět XV, 1911, no. 16, 20. 9., p. 252

Views of the exhibition

View of the exhibition hall

top middle: no. 74,  Zdeňka Liebscherová, Funeral of a Girl in Brittany (decorative frieze)

from the left: no.  Z. Liebscherová, St. Cloud in Paris; no. 74, Z. Liebscherová, Paris from the Medoun Terrace

the last painting on the right: no. 75, Z. Liebscherová, Jewish Cemetary in Roudnice)


Reproduction: Zlatá Praha XXVIII, 1911

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, Výtvarné umění, Venkov VI, 1911, no. 166, 16. 7., p. 10

Anonymous author, Zprávy, Jizeran XXXII, 1911, no. 51, 15. 7., p. 4

Anonymous author, Výstava českých malířek v Turnově, Listy pojizerské XXVI, 1911, no. 18, 6. 8., pp. 2–3

Anonymous author, Výtvarné umění, Venkov VI, 1911, no. 120, 23. 5., p. 10

g., Výstavy na českém venkově, Máj IX, 1911, no. 51, 15. 9., p. 628

R., Výstava českých malířek v Turnově, Zlatá Praha XXVIII, 1911, no. 51, 8. 9., p. 618

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