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 Frantisek Hladik  (1887 - 1944)

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Lived/Active: Czech Republic      Known for: portrait, allegorical, still life, landscape painting, nudes

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
„Half Nude”, c. 1920
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Frantisek Hladik (1887-1944)

He was born at Kralovske Vinohrady (Royal Vineyard), a residential section of Prague, on September 18, 1887.  After graduation from The Technical School for Arts and Crafts, he continued his studies at The Prague Academy of Creative Arts in 1908.  He attended professor Bukovac’ courses and soon advanced to professor Vojtech Hynais’ Special School.  Hynais was a famous Czech painter well known in Vienna, in Italy and above all in Paris.  His monumental painting of the curtain of the Prague National Theater and Opera built in 1883 won him a widespread recognition.  The young Hladik got not only appreciation of his teacher, but also two annual prizes of the Academy during his studies.

In 1914, Hladik began his career as a skillful portraitist.  Possibly because he knew his art handicraft so well, he did not seem to be enticed by any of the –isms in vogue at the time. After the outbreak of World War I just one day before leaving as soldier for the Italian front in 1915, he married Marie Tittelbach, his favorite model and dearly beloved “Manicka”.  Austrian officers soon noticed his skills and transferred him from a combat unit to a military hospital.  He painted allegorical scenes in the Military Chapel at Sternhal Cemetery in Southern Styria as well as portraits of some of the military commanders.

After the war, Hladik opened a studio in a quiet street overlooking the largest Prague Park Stromovka.  His works included oil paintings of Prague Old Town, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Vltava waterfront and others.  Soon he turned his attention to still life and nudes.  His works were always on display at exhibitions of the Art Association JVU (Jednota vytvarnych umelcu).  Some of his works were reproduced in Czechoslovak art reviews Dilo (Work) and Zlata Praha (Golden Prague) e. g. Paintings lover, Portrait of Miss M. O, Nude with a book, Mirror, Vanity, Portrait of Dr. K, Gipsy Woman (on view at Exposition of Contemporary Culture in Brno in 1928) and other.  Oils from former Yugoslavia Boat in Ulcinj and Sarajevo were acclaimed at JVU 1934 Exhibition in Prague. The Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs bought several paintings for Embassies abroad and Ministry of Education and Culture purchased some of his works for various cultural institutions.  Hladik participated at shows in Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen and The Hague.

From 1930, he used to spend his vacations in Briste and Skala, small villages close to the town of Humpolec.  Soon he fell in love with these highlands between Bohemia and Moravia.  The views fascinated his painter’s eye.  He started to paint landscapes with farmers plowing and reapers harvesting, peasants haymaking and fishing out a pond or going to church.  He painted cottages and country roads with wild flowers, still life with mushrooms and a bag of hares and pheasants after the hunt.  Over the years, he got rid of Vojtech Hynais academicism and idealism.  Hynais figures are idealized, Hladik’s characters became close to earth.  Earlier period of sweet and admirable nudes was over.

Shortly before World War II, he built a new house and studio in Skala (Rock).  It became his only residence after his wife Manicka passed away in 1942.  He remained faithful to his landscapes filling them with hardworking and good people and happiness.  He died in Skala on October 8, 1944.  He is buried with his wife at the local cemetery below a simple wooden cross with the motto “Resurrection is Life”.

Written and submitted by George J. Hladik, the artist's nephew whose sources are:
Novy slovnik ceskoslovenskych vytvarnych umelcu (New Dictionary of Czechoslovak Creative Artists, page 208) by PhD Prokop Toman,  published by Rudolf Rysavy in Prague 1936 [Note: There is a new Edition published in the 90ies].
Czech newspapers: Vecerni Praha (Prague Evening) September 18, 1967, Humpolecky Zpravodaj (Bulletin of Humpolec) of September 1977 and some newspaper clippings from unidentifiable Czech newspapers and personal recollections.

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