Developments in the 19th Century


Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map


Frantisek Kupka


Frantisek Kupka


(b Opocno, 22 Sept 1871; d Puteaux, Paris, 21 June 1957).

Bohemian painter and graphic artist, active in France. A pioneer of European abstract painting, he first trained at the School of Arts and Crafts at Jaromer under Alois Studnicka (1842–1927). From 1887 until 1891 he studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under Professor Frantisek Sequens (1836–96), a late Nazarene, who directed an atelier of religious painting. He continued his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna (1892–3), under Professor August Eisenmenger (1830–1907). In 1894 he met the painter and natural philosopher Karl Diefenbach (b 1851), who impressed him with his ideas of a return to nature. Kupka’s paintings of this period (e.g. Quam ad causam sumus?, ?1894) are untraced. In 1895 he settled in Paris, earning his living as an illustrator for periodicals. In 1899 he exhibited a genre painting, the Bibliomaniac (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts without notable success. He first achieved fame with his satirical cycles in anarchistic style, Money, Religion, Peace (all Prague, N.G., Kinsky Pal.), published as lithographs in the periodical L’Assiette au beurre between 1901 and 1904. At the beginning of the century he worked on a Symbolist cycle (1900–03; Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.) in coloured aquatints: Defiance: Black Idol, Quiet Road and Beginning of Life. His Symbolist period culminated in Ballad: Joys of Life (1901–2; Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), in which elements of naturalism, Symbolism and the decorative stylization of the period were combined. In his preparatory drawings for the cycle the use of luminous colour makes the figures appear ethereal.

The Wave


Planes by Colors aka Great Nude


View from a Carriage Window


Self Portrait


Desnudo tendido, Gabrielle


Epona-Ballade, The Joys


Mujer ante un espejo





La gama amarilla


The Black Idol


The Path of Silence



Esfinge I

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