Archive for the ‘Czech Secese History’ Category

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Finis, 1893


Maximilian Pirner

Hekate, 1893


Maximilian Pirner

Girl in Her Nightie Walks on the Window-Ledge


Maximilian Pirner

Tentazione di San Gerolamo, 1889


Maximilian Pirner

Medusa, 1891


Maximilian Pirner

Daemon Love (1893)


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Drawings and sketches


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Series Mythological Misalliances, 1890

Maximilian Pirner

Homo Homini Lupus, 1901

Maximilián Pirner Allegory of Death

Allegory of death, 1895



Stanislav Sucharda – Frantisek Palacky monument, detail



Stanislav Sucharda – draft for a grave




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Stanislav Sucharda – Frantisek Palacky monument



Karel Hlavacek – Posters



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The Blue Church (Modry kostolik) by Odon Lechner



Safarikovo square



Sturova street



Old Town (Inner City)



Grand Hotel and surrounding villas



Lechner buildings around Modry kostolik






Original Lithograph, from "Le Pater" printed by F. Champenois and published by Henri Piazza in Paris, 1899.
Le Pater, consisted of a series of seven drawings. The seven verses of the Lord’s prayer are presented with illustrations by Mucha.
"Mucha felt that ‘Le Pater’ was his supreme achievement as an illustrator.

The following picture are digitized from my personal book collection.



As a follow up to the post dedicated to the work of Osvald Polivka I would like to present two decorative elements on the façade of the Topič building, work due to the Czech sculptor Ladislav Jan Šaloun.

Ladislav Jan Šaloun (b Prague, 1 Aug 1870; d Prague, 18 Oct 1946). was student of the sculptors Thomas Seidan (1830-90) and Bohuslav Schnirch. As many artists and sculptures at the turn-of-the-century, Šaloun  too was influenced by the work and style of Auguste Rodin, whose Prague exhibition he saw in 1902. The vagueness of the shapes, the formation of figures from the raw marble, the pathos of the composition, the dramatic expressions of the characters, were elements which Šaloun admired in the works of Rodin.

In Hradecko, in the Secession building due to the architect Osvald Polívka 1912 other works of Ladislav Šaloun are characterized by an evident sensual and melancholic mood. Abandoned the vagueness of the unformed marble material, shapesd in a more classicist or neo-renaissance style, these statues are notwithstanding characterized by an introspective attitude, a typical “humor noir”, a melancholic expression of the faces which recalls the title of a philosophical work of Theophrastus, the Melancholy of the Genius. This feeling is typical symbolist and decadent attitude:

Symbolism. The symbolic element, remarked by the beauty of the Art Nouveau line, engraved by typical Secese female figures. The smooth gesture and the dreaming attitude of the sculptured women on the Topič building façade are somewhat similar to a magazine vignette rather than a plastic sculpture, completely different from the style of the previous Šaloun works.

By a pure aesthetic point of view, some noticeable similarities between one of the sculpture and a woman depicted for a poster of Alphonse Mucha: position of the head, dreaming and ecstatic sight, spatial position of bodies and shoulders. A typical fin-de-siécle Czech sensibility toward arts ?




Osvald Polívka born 24. 5. 1859 was one of the most influencing Czech Architect. He studied architecture as well as building engineering. Polívka began the career under the guide of  prof. J. Zítka, and finally began his first project in 1890. His style was definitively influenced by Art Nouveau. Serpentine lines as well as phytomorphic motifs are present on his facades.

Combination of naturalistic and phytomorphic elements are well noticeable in this apartment house build in 1901-2:

Even if the facade is clearly Secese styled however it has still some neoclassic and eclectic elements and the curves of the decor´s lines are contrasting the classicist elements of the building (in the detail, the female face and the phytomorphic element seem struggle in a battle with the conservative static container of the neo-greek frieze).

Fully Secessionist, on the contrary, the building for the U Novaků Department Store, which also include a mosaic sketched by the famous Czech painter Jan Preisler. 


Really outstanding are the zoomorphological decorations:

And the mosaic of Jan Preisler, also, characterized this building, one of the most interesting of the Czech Secese:

And, finally, the internal galleria, with decorated glasses and mirrors:

Topič building, 1903-6, another great work, with a façade which mixes Viennese elements with the outstanding decorative taste of Osvald Polívka:



An outstanding document as second article of Secese – Czech Secession. Thanks to the Bibliotheque National Française and their Digital Library (named Gallica, and available following this link: I was able to find out and to prepare the PDF of the art magazine “La Plume”, special number completely (COMPLETELY) dedicated to Alphonse Mucha. It was published the 15th of June 1897.

Here you can find the cover and the full reproduction of all the 110 pages in PDF format. Enjoy 🙂

LaPlume – 15June1897