Josef Liesler [1912-2005]
Kracovna y’l a gzel (Ze gnu noci Svatojauske) [Wardrobe for the opera Salome, nightmare of the virgin], 1957
Tempera on canvas board
23-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches
Signed at lower middle-left : ‘lister, 1957.’.
Marking type: Printed and hand written exhibition label.
Location: Upper left frame verso.
Text: ‘5400 x 1300 1″ / 2132 / Josef Liesler ak. makiv / PRAHA [Prague] – SMICHOV / XAVERIOVA – A7 / [horizontal line] / Kracovna y’l a gzel (Ze gnu noci Svatojauske) / Tempera 1957 / 40 x 60’.
This painting was part of a major retrospective on the artist in 2002 at the Academy of Science, Czechoslovakia.
Josef Liesler was a Czech surrealist painter, graphic designer, illustrator, stamp and poster designer born September 19, 1912, in the small town of Vidolice near Kadaň, Czechoslovia to German-born parents.
Liesler attended the Czech grammar school Karlových Varech. He received his artistic training at the University of the Architecture and Structural Engineering in art in Prague [Architektury a Pozemního Stavitelství na Českém vysokém učení v Praze] between 1934-38, studying under Cyril Bouda [1901-1984], Oldřich Blažíček [1887-1953] and Josef Sejpka [1885-?].
In the year of his graduation, 1938, Germany signed the Munich Agreement turning the Czech border region over to Hitlers’ Germany. In protest, Liesler banded with fellow artists forming a group called The Seven. In 1939, Liesler and The Seven exhibited at the Prague Stocker Salon showing works depictings man’s humanity and dignity during war time. The group, however was short lived and disbanded in 1941.
After 1941, Liesler’s work would look back through history and to past artists such as Francisco Jose De Goya Y Lucientes [1746-1828] and Honore Daumier [1808-1879]. His themes would vary but, music and theater were among his favorite. Liesler was influenced by the Surrealists, calling his brand of art “surreal reality.” His work was colorful and employed bold linework. Liesler used allegorical images of monsters, ghosts, and all manner of beast to represent the oppressive governments and protest the occupation.
After the war, Liesler’s work would reach its height, inspired by his memories, fantasy and irony. During this period the influence of artists like Picasso, Durer, El Greco, Dali, Daumier and Goya can be seen.
He began teaching at the Czech Technical University in Pargue (CTU) in 1945.
In 1958, Liesler co-founded the art group called the 58. During this period, Lieler would illustrate numerous books until around 1975. After 1975, his focused on designing more than 100 stamps, something he would continue the rest of his life.
Liesler died on August 23, 2005 in Prague.
GROUPS & ORGANIZATIONS
1945: SČUG Hollar
1942: Mánes Union of Fine Arts [Association of Fine Artists]
2002: Academy of Science, Czechoslovakia, major retrospective
1939: Prague Stocker Salon [with The Seven]
2003: The Chezch government [under President Václav Klaus], medal of merit
1980: Chezch government, best stamp
1975: UNESCO award: Hydrologic decade [stamp]
1969: Belgian Royal Academy, honorary member
1964: Academy of Florence, honorary member
1945: Czech Technical University in Pargue (CTU)
? : Don Quixote
1965: Indian fables. As told by Ivan Olbracht. Ill by Josef Liesler
1964: Anna Karenina
1962: O mudrci Bidpajovi a jeho zvířátkách [The sages Bidpajovi and zvířátkách]
1960: Madame Bovary
1956: Evžen Oněgin
1946 Tabáková cesta : román [Tobacco way: novel]
MUSEUMS & COLLECTIONS
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence