The Mánes Union of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Prague Castle Administration, is organizing an exhibition entitled MY HOMELAND – A TRIBUTE TO CZECH LANDSCAPE PAINTING, which will be held at the Prague Castle Riding School from September to November of this year. Allow me to write a few words of introduction.
The Mánes Union of Fine Arts was established in 1887 and exists to this very day. From the very beginning, members of the Union were the best fine artists of their time. After all, the organization’s first president was Mikoláš Aleš, and, upon its inception, the Union immediately embraced the legacy of Josef Mánes.
From whence and whither? This is the question that every artist must ask. If an answer is to be found, the artist must know his history, his country, and his forefathers. One of the most fundamental values is a relationship to one’s homeland. In today’s world void of borders and of boundaries, the word homeland (in the sense of pride and belongingness) is becoming polemical and invokes discussion. Homeland is a synonym for landscape, and the landscape is a quiet witness to our history – it is a place we hold as much in our hearts as we do in the land beneath our feet.
Our Union is evidence of and a part of this word. From the very beginning, the Mánes Union of Fine Arts has brought together painters, sculptors, architects, glassmakers, and art historians and has become a part of our cultural and social lives. At the same time, throughout its entire history, it has always insisted on quality as well as proven values. Its authority helped build an independent nation; its patriotism and affiliation with the beliefs of the first President of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Masaryk, opened doors to Europe. Therefore, the majority of the works exhibited in MY HOMELAND – A TRIBUTE TO CZECH LANDSCAPE PAINTING are by Mánes members.
There has never before been an exhibition of this extent and quality. The only comparable exhibition was organized 20 years ago by academician Jiří Kotalík in the Waldstein Riding School. I am convinced that the public, after decades of absolute drought and futile waiting for art that is truly for the people and has not been ripped apart from its essence, will cherish the moment and this unique opportunity to see the best of the works produced from the 18th to the 21st century. The attentive viewer will understand that for the past 125 years, the history of our culture and the history of fine arts have been so closely intertwined with the Mánes artists that there can be no doubt as to the status of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts as an inseparable phenomenon of Czech culture and art. When we say Mánes, we are speaking of this nation’s finest artists.
Judge for yourselves: Mikoláš Aleš – the Union’s first president, Bauch, Benda, Beneš, Braunerová, Blažíček, Boettinger, Bílek, Cimbura, Čapek, Dvořák, Eliáš Sr., Engelmüller, Filla, Fragner, Gočár, Gutfreund, Grus, Havelka, Hejna, Hoffbauer, Adolf Hoffmeister, Holan, Holub, Holý, Honsa, Hudeček, Hubáček, Chochol, Istler, Janák, Janeček, Jíra, Jiránek, Jurkovič, Justitz, Jiroudek, Kafka, Kaloč, Kalvoda, Kaván, Klimeš, Kodet, Koníček, Kotěra, Kremlička, Kuča, Kuba, Kubín, Kubišta, Kupka, Kysela, Lada, Liesler, Lauda, Lolek, Makovský, Masaryk, Mařatka, Muzika, Nechleba, Nejedlý, Novotný, Nowak, Paderlík, Panuška, Piskač, Plečnik, Preissig, Preisler, Procházka, Prucha, Rabas, Rada, Radimský, Ronovský, Schwaiger, Sklenář, A. Slavíček, J. Slavíček, Stefan, Stretti, Sucharda, Svoboda, Svolinský, Sychra, Šaloun, Šíma, Šimoun, Špála, Špillar, Štursa, Tittelbach, Štýrský, Švabinský, Toyen, Trampota, Trnka, Ullman, Uprka, Wachsman, Zábranský, Zrzavý, Žufan, and many others.
At the exhibition, you will see for yourselves the beauty of the landscape interpreted by our best painters. I hope that you find the subject of MY HOMELAND – A TRIBUTE TO CZECH LANDSCAPE PAINTING intriguing and that you come to see the exhibition.
President of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts