19. 10. 2023 – 22. 09. 2024
Curator: Lucie Vlčková, Radim Vondráček
Architecture: Dušan Seidl
Graphic design: Vladimír Vimr
Cubist interior artefacts represent unique and highly prized examples of Czech design of the first quarter of the 20th century. Only in Bohemia did Cubism evolve into a style of its own, finding its niche in the pre-First World War period not only in painting and sculpture, but also in architecture, furniture production and decorative objects made of ceramics, metals and glass. Czech Cubist architecture and design dating from 1910–1914 in particular are unparalleled worldwide and constitute a singular phenomenon in Czech art history. The Cubist collection in the Museum of Decorative Arts began to be assembled in the 1950s, initially from the property of the designers themselves and their clients. Only very few preserved works in private hands, making them extremely rare and much sought-after.
The Czech Cubism Foundation created what is the most important private Cubist collection in terms of quality and extent, cultivating for over a decade its promotion and presentation in the form of a permanent exhibition on view in the Bauer’s Villa in Libodřice, Central Bohemia, and through loans to exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad. In 2022, thanks to a special grant from the Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Decorative Arts was given the opportunity to purchase the collection, thus preserving it in its entirety. Its fourteen furniture suites (a total of 59 items) and sixty-five items-collections of ceramic, metal and glass objects (consisting of over 160 pieces) includes works by the most accomplished exponents of Cubism – Vlastislav Hofman, Josef Gočár, Pavel Janák, and others. The purchase of the collection is an acquisition of paramount significance in the Ministry of Culture’s art collecting strategy, and its acquisition is an outstanding feat in the State’s cultural policy that strives to preserve the country’s national cultural heritage and make it accessible to the public. Through this acquisition, the Museum has greatly expanded its holdings of Cubist design to include works hitherto unavailable on the art market and increased the value of certain furniture ensembles and ceramics through their completion (for example, the furniture designed by Vlastislav Hofman for sculptor Josef Mařatka), thereby facilitating the preservation of works documenting the extraordinary phenomenon of Czech art for future generations and for its international representation.