The exhibitions of German-Czech art in 1906 and 1907 and events within the Verein deutscher bildender Künstler in Böhmen culminated in a split between the older and emerging generations. Some of the artists left the Verein and founded a new association. It was established in 1909 under the title Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund (German-Czech Art Association). One year earlier, in February 1908, the leaders of the future Künstlerbund organized the Exhibition of German Artists in Bohemia, held concurrently with the Verein show in Rudolfinum. It took place in the German Casino (the garden hall of the U Tří jezdců House at Senovážné Square, designed by the architect Josef Zasche). The main initiators included Karl Krattner, who promoted his new efforts through Heinrich Alfred Schmid (until 1904 a professor at the k.u. k. Karl-Ferdinand Universität in Prague) and the periodical Deutsche Arbeit. In the introduction to his extensive article, Schmid wrote that the 1908 show was an extraordinary event that “significantly surpasses the average at the Vienna Secession show and the Liberec overview (…). It contains (…) a larger number of mature works” [Schmid 1908]. The exhibition featured salon and conventional academic paintings by the entire older generation, already well known to the Prague public. Schmid was undoubtably not far from the truth when comparing the Künstlerbund selection with Viennese Secession, but close relations with Vienna characterized the entire older generation of Czech Germans who actively participated in the artworlds of Vienna and also Munich. Gustav Klimt was the main star of the two Prague 1908 shows and also the only artist to have participated in both. In the U Tří jezdců House, he exhibited his 1903 canvas Jurisprudenz, now lost. Schmid devoted much attention to this work as did the reviewer in the Prager Tagblatt. His two-part text focuses on both Prague German art in general and the individual artists. Based on this review, we may assume that the represented artists tended toward the turn-of-the-century tradition and decorativeness. In addition to Klimt, the reviewer highlighted “two decorative landscapes” by Emil Orlik called Waterfall and Alpine Lake and a landscape from Ore Mountains by Wenzel Franz Jäger (“the Ore Mountains can only be captured in the way Jäger shows”). He considered Krattner’s work an example of new religious painting [tsch 1908a]. The same reviewer published a special text on the collection of Franz Metzner's works, exhibited in a separate room. Opened with a brief delay, this room contained not only Metzner's latest projects in Berlin, Vienna and Leipzig, but also his individual works and designs for monuments and recently completed Prague projects, especially in collaboration with Josef Zasche [tsch. 1908b].
In the February 1908 show, the emerging Künstlerbund manifested its turn away from the young generation, although their exhibitions held in 1910, 1912 and 1914 still represented young artists. For the older artists, who founded the Verein deutscher bildender Künstler in Böhmen in 1895, the advent of modern art meant the disruption of the established order. The choice of space, installation design and promotion failed to bring the success the organizers were hoping for. Schmid wrote: “the exhibition’s success does not match its quality. Attendance is not very good and sales are poor.” [Schmid 1908]
tsch 1908a: tsch., Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen II., Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 46, 16. 2., p. 12
tsch. 1908b: tsch., Kunst. Das sieghafte Bein. Franz Metzner in der Ausstellung der deutschen Künstler aus Böhmen, Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 74, 15. 3., pp. 12–13
Schmid 1908: Heinrich Alfred Schmid, Die Frühjahrsausstellungen der deutschen bildenden Künstler in Prag, Deutsche Arbeit VII, 1908, no. 6, pp. 371–374
Anna Habánová, Dějiny uměleckého spolku Metznerbund 1920–1945, Liberec 2016, pp. 60–105
City of Prague Archives, fonds MHMP II, Národní výbor hlavního města Prahy, odbor vnitřních věcí, spolkový katastr [City of Prague National Committee, department of internal affairs, association cadastre] sign. IX/0212.
-o-, Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen im Deutschen Hause. II., Prager Abendblatt XXXXII, 1908, no. 47, 26. 2., p. 7pdf
Heinrich Alfred Schmid, Die Frühjahrsausstellungen der deutsche bildenden Künstler in Prag, Deutsche Arbeit VII, 1908, no. 6, pp. 371–374pdf
tsch., Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen, Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 45, 15. 2., pp. 7–8pdf
tsch., Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen II., Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 46, 16. 2., p. 12pdf
tsch., Kunst. Das sieghafte Bein. Franz Metzner in der Ausstellung der deutschen Künstler aus Böhmen, Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 74, 15. 3., pp. 12–13pdf
Anonymous author, Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen, Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 44, 14. 2., p. 8
Anonymous author, Ausstellung deutscher Künstler aus Böhmen, Prager Tagblatt XXXI, 1907, no. 353, 22. 12., p. 15
Franz Thiele – Karl Krattner, Kunst. – Das Komitee der Ausstellung, Prager Tagblatt XXXII, 1908, no. 62, 22. 2., p. 9