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Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
A new exhibit of the month is on view at the entrance to the UPM’s Permanent Collection.

In November, two decades will have elapsed since the time Czechoslovak emigrants could return to their native country after years in exile. Academic Sculptor Pavel Krbálek, who left Czechoslovakia in 1968, is one of them. “Welded II” exemplifies his abstract sculptural work, which he took up in the late 1950s. The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague purchased the sculpture from the artist in 1963.

Pavel Krbálek was born on April 2, 1928 in Miroslav near Znojmo. He received training in the blacksmithing craft in his father’s workshop. In 1948, he entered the Brno-based State School of Industrial Art run by the Chamber of Trade and Commerce (later re-named School of Arts and Crafts),
where he attended the Plastic Arts Department under Professor Josef Adolf Šálek. After graduating from the Brno school, he continued his studies at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague (Department of Decorative Sculpture, studio headed by Professor Bedřich Stefan /1896–1982/). Through Stefan, Krbálek met prominent figures of the Czech art scene, among them Josef Sudek and Otto Rothmayer. During his studies at the Academy, he began his artistic collaboration with the architect
Jan Sokol (iron grille for the side entrance to the Golden Portal of Saint Vitus’ Cathedral) and with the blacksmith workshop attached to the Centre for Artistic Crafts in Karlín, headed at the time by the master blacksmith Václav Frolík. In 1956, Krbálek enrolled in a one-year internship programme at the Berlin Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, in the studio of Professor Heinrich Drake at the Department of Sculpture. He returned from Germany in 1957 and graduated from the Prague Academy in 1958. In 1963, Krbálek joined INTER, an international group of artists, with whom he exhibited for the next five years. From 1968 to 1990, he lived and worked in Switzerland, followed by his return to the Czech Republic, where he has created monumental sculptures for a number of towns. Krbálek specializes in figurative and zoomorphic wrought-iron sculpture and abstract sculptural work fashioned from base and precious metals. His jewellery creations are also worthy of attention. In 2001, a new permanent exhibition of Pavel Krbálek’s works was opened in the House of Culture in Miroslav.
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“Welded II” sculpture
Pavel Krbálek, Prague, 1960
Welded iron
UPM, inv. No. 61.727
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