František Drtikol (source: Gallery of František Drtikol Příbram)

František Drtikol (source: Gallery of František Drtikol Příbram)

František Drtikol

1883 (Příbram) - 1961 (Prague)

František Drtikol, worldwide renowned photographer, was born in Příbram - a town with an important pilgrim site, the Holy Mountain. After finishing his primary and secondary school, he left his hometown and joined a studio led by Anthony Mattase. He studied in Munich, the hotbed of Art Noveau at the Teaching and Research Institute for Photography. He won a bronz medal at the international exhibition of photography in Mainz.


His first job was in a studio in Karlsruhe, later he worked at Chur in Switzerland and back in Czech Republic, in Trutnov. In Bohemia he photographed landscapes, local silver mines and miners. He probably worked as an pictorial artist during his military service in the Austro-Hungarian army. He contributed to the techniques of fine art prints with his patented halftone photolithography, using it for prints duplicating.


After his military service he opened his first studio in his hometown but soon he moved to Prague where - together with Augustin Škarda - he opened a studio at the corner of Vodičkova and Jungmannova streets. In 1911 Artěl association published a first set of his oil prints The Courts and Courtyards of Old Prague. There were created so-called pure photography portraits of Czech personalities as so as presidents T. G. Masaryk and E. Beneš, artists as L. Janáček, B. Martinů, Paul Valery, Emma Destinnová, etc.


The studio survived the First World War and he lived there until 1935. Jaroslav Rössler and his wife Gertrude Fischer were among his first students. In addition to art works he also focused on philosophy and religion - especially the eastern ones. He translated buddhist texts, he was a member of the Theosophic league and a friend of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthrosophy.


After 1921 he mainly produces brom-silver photographs and uses geometric shapes in compositions with models through which he achieves a more dynamic form. He mainly works with the dancers. He married Ervin Kupferova, a dancer, and had a daughter with her. Drtikol won the Grand Prix at the international exhibition of modern and decorative arts in Paris in 1925 and he won another Grand Prix at Turin. His famous nudes were published in 1928 in Paris.


With a pronounced opinion on contemporary art photography enters with Jaromír Funke to Umělecká beseda (Art Discussion). He also made some decorative obejcts, especially lamps. His photographic work is slowly exempts from real models and he uses his own subtle silhouettes of figures and continues to work precisely with the light, also inspired by asian art. In 1935 his studio in Vodičkova closes and he moves to Spořilov. During this period he mainly painted and practiced yoga. After the 40s he refers his creations to the museum of fine art, married one of his students Jarmila Rambousek and together they joined the Communist Party which basic idea reminds some of budhist teachings.


Moucha Josef: František Drtikol, Torst, Praha, 2007

Vladimír Birgus, Antonín Braný: František Drtikol, Odeon, Praha, 1988

Gallery of František Drtikol Příbram -

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© Operator: Internet Art, s.r.o., Graphic design Dominik Hejbal, Technical processing AG25, s.r.o., 2014
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