In coming back to the collection of the Czech writer, traveler and collector Joe Hloucha, we would like to point out his fascination by Japan, which he visited in 1906 and 1926. His admiration for Japanese culture was reflected not only in his fiction, but also his extensive collecting, which later on included other cultures of the Far East.
Joe Hloucha (his real first name was Josef, 1881—1957) was regarded during his lifetime in particular as the author of a number of literary Japaneseries. The best-known was Sakura in the Storm, but his reminiscences from travels and adaptations of Japanese fairy-tales were widely read as well.
On 6 June of the war year 1942 Joe Hloucha was contacted by the Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts Karel Herein: “We would like to consult you about your collection and also negotiate our purchase of Japanese photographs.” On 17 June the Museum acquired a set of 200 Japanese hand-colored photographic prints for 10,000 crowns, which Joe Hloucha bought in 1906 in Tokyo and Kyoto.
Despite unsettled war and postwar times the set of 200 Japanese photographic prints has been preserved almost complete. Today the collection consists of 193 pieces.
The Museum of Decorative Arts, which owns the biggest Czech collection of art photography, contemplated an exhibition of these prints for a long time. However, its current premiere at the Central-Bohemian Museum in Roztoky by Prague will present it to the public at the place most frequently connected with Joe Hloucha and his love for Japan. The exhibition will feature a part of the collection, expertly processed by Filip Suchomel, the Chief Curator of the collections of the Moravian Gallery in Brno. An accompanying publication to the exhibition includes the complete catalogue of the whole collection together with a CD ROM, published for the exhibition by the Central-Bohemian Museum in Roztoky by Prague.