Jan Zrzavý

     Jan Zrzavý is famous czech painter of 20th century. Jan Zrzavý was born on 5th November 1890 in elementary school in Okrouhlice. His father, Hanuš Zrzavý, was director of this school. Jan was his 6th son.

     He went to school in Okrouhlice. He made acquainted with the fine arts by means of fairy - tales, puppet performance or old calendars with pictures by M. Aleš. He made acquainted with religion art on Sundays masses. He liked painting a pictures and drew in surrounding outdoor. He desired to be a painter.

     Jan was study grammar school in town Havlíčkův Brod, then in Kutná Hora. He finished school in Přibyslav and Havlíčkův Brod. He painted and illustrated according models in this time. Late he painted nature. In the year 1905 his father carried Jan away to Prague. There he started to study at private painter school. His first professor was Karel Reisnera, second was professor František Županský and he finished his study at František Ženíšek younger. In Prague he made acquainted with fine arts trough picture's gallery "Společnost vlasteneckých přátel umění v Rudolfínu" (Patriotic friends of art society in Rudolfinum) and he went to exhibitions from contemporary by Mánes. He started to read Julius Zeyer, in his work he fined many signs witch he loved and which influenced his all life.

     In Autumn 1907 Jan Zrzavý started to study college of applied arts in Prague. His professor was Emanuel Dítě. When he came from Paris he painted pastel "Údolí smutku" (The Valley of Sorrow). When he studied second year in the college he was expel. He tried to get to academic in Prague, but he didn't have a good luck. Jan painted "Rozkoš" (Delight), pastel "Astarté", "Sestra Paskalina" (Sister Paskalina), "Zeyerova zahrada" (Zeyer's Garden) and many other pictures in a short time.

The Valey of Sorrow
(Údolí smutku)
oil on canvas
58.5 cm x 79 cm (23 in. x 31.1 in.)

     Zrzavý with Josef Váchal, Jan Konůpek and František Koliba established art association SURSUM. They were rated as a late symbolers. SURSUM had exhibition in Brno in Autumn, but pictures of Zrzavý were lost.

The Sermon on the Mount
(Kázání na hoře)
oil on canvas
74 cm x 58 cm (29.1 in. x 22.8 in.)

     In the year 1911 Jan started to study commercial school. It was wish of his parents. In the year 1912 he left their house because he didn't agree with his father. He went away to Prague. In Autumn SURSUM had exhibition in "Obecní dům", but after this exhibition the SURSUM was going to collapse. Picture by Zrzavý "Spící hoch" (Sleeping Boy) was declare as a best work of exhibition after Kubišta's review. Jan Zrzavý was intake of member of Mánes for this picture and for reference by B. Kubišta.

Still-Life with Lillies-of-the-Valley
(Zátiší s konvalinkami)
oil and tempera, cardboard
23.5 cm x 31 cm (9.3 in. x 12.2 in.)

     There he performanced to year 1917. His work was very abundant ample as extent and as meaning. Prime are "Zátiší s konvalinkami" (Still-Life with Lilies-of-the-Valley), "Luna s konvalinkami" (Moon with Lilies-of-the-Valley), "Biblická krajina" (Biblical scenery), "Krajina s květinou" (Scenery with Flower), "Diana", "Svatý Jan Miláček Páně" (Saint Jan Milácek Dominical).

oil on canvas
50.2 cm x 37.5 cm (19.8 in. x 14.8 in.)

     During first world war he painted "Posedlost" (Obsession), "Milosrdný Samaritán I." (Good Samaritan I.), "Hoře" (Woe), "Utrpení" (Suffering), "Dáma se závojem" (Lady with Veil), "Kokota", "Toaleta" (Robe), "Andělé" (Angeles), "Podobizna paní D" (Portrait of Mrs. D). Zrzavý made acquainted with Josef Čapek (czech writer and painter, author of word "robot"), V. Špála, V. Hofman, later with O. Marvánek and with F. Kremlička. They met in cafe in "Obecní dům" and they established new group. This group rise in the 1918 and called TVRDOŠIJNÍ.

Melancholy II
(Melancholie II)
oil on canvas
67.5 cm x 79.5 cm (26.6 in. x 31.3 in.)

     In the year 1918 he became ill by typhoid fever. In this time he painted picture "Kleopatra I." (Cleopatra I.), "Jitro" (Morning). In the year 1920 he traveled over Germany. In Berlin's gallery Der Sturm had independent exhibition. He painted "Melancholie II." (Melancholy II.) and he started painted landscapes - "Vadínská pazderna" (Vadín's Hemp-kiln), "Okrouhlice". His drawings completed literary work by Antonín Sova and Jiří Wolker.

     In the 1923 Jan Zrzavý entered to "Umělecká beseda" and he took part of their member's exhibitions. In Topic's drawing-room had second independent exhibition. He traveled to Italy the first time in his live. He started to visit France regularly. In the year 1924 he drew illustrations for Mácha's Máj (very famous work in Bohemia).

oil on canvas
50 cm x 61 cm (19.7 in. x 24 in)

     In the 1925 he was in Brittany for the first time. There he painted landscapes. In this time be painted also "Krajina s mostem" (Scenery with Bridge), "Žebračka" (Beggar-woman), "Kleopatra II." (Cleopatra II.), "Krucemburk". Zrzavý painted drawing and frontispiecies for many works of czech writers. In November 1927 he had Exhibition of his new drawings. Kytice (very famous poetic work in Bohemia) by K. J. Erben was publicated at Christmas with 13 illustrations by Zrzavý.

Still-Life with Fruit
(Zátiší s ovocem)
oil on canvas
27 cm x 35 cm (10.6 in. x 13.8 in.)

     In the year 1928 he visited Italy again. Zrzavý painted still life - "Zátiší s třemi jablky" (Still-Life with Three Apples), "Zátiší s krabicí" (Still-Life with Box), "Zátiší s flakonem" (Still-Life with Flacon) - and landscapes - "Bretaňský kostelík" (Chapel of Brittany), "Kostel v Camaretu" (Church in Camaret), "Piazzeta", "San Salvatore", "Benátky II." (Venice II.), Loďky (Boats), "Přístav v Bretani" (Port in Brittany) and many more subjects "Kristus a Jan" (Christ and John), "Jaro" (Spring), "Anděl" (Angel).

tempera and canvas
100 cm x 130 cm (39.4 in. x 51.2 in.)

     In the year 1930 he lived in Paris.

San Marco at Night
(San Marco v noci)
oil on canvas
45.5 cm x 76 cm (17.9 in. x 29.9 in.)

     Jan Zrzavý is going to discover Ostravsko and he painted landscape here - "Haldy na Ostravsku" (Slag-Heaps on Ostravsko), "Ostravice", "Strusky na Ostravici" (Slags on Ostravice) a many more.

Sleeping Boats
(Spící lodi)
tempera, plywood
78.5 cm x 106.5 cm (30.9 in. x 41.9 in.)

     In the 1937 he traveled over England. He stopped to go to France after Munich agreement and he started to paint to landscapes of hic childhood as a Vysočina - "Kaplička" (Village Chapel), "Špejchárek", "V České Bělé" (In Česká Bělá), "Z Babic" (From Babice). He prepared decors for Stavovské theatre (C. Debussy: Lost Son) and The National theatre (G. Verdi: Rigoletto).

oil and wood
41.5 cm x 63 cm (16.3 in. x 14.8 in.)

     When Jan Zrzavý was 50 years old in year 1940 Umělecká beseda organized Aggregate exhibition painting work of Jan Zrzavý from years 1905-1940 in Obecní dům. It was released monograph Work of Jan Zrzavý 1906-1940. He painted "Kleopatra I." (Cleopatra I.), "Kleopatra II." (Cleopatra II.), "Poutníci do Emauz" (Pilgrims to Emauz), "Sedící dívka" (Sitting Girl), "Zvětšování" (Blow-up).

Vodňany Lake
(Vodňanský rybník)
tempera, canvas on wood
28.5 cm x 35.5 cm (11,2 in. x 14 in.)

     After the second world war he lived in Paris and in Brittany for 2 months. In the 1947 he was nominated to professor of painting and composition on Institute of graphic education of Faculty of philosophy at Palacký university in Olomouc. There he operated to 1950. In these years he painted pictures "Biton", "Studna v Karlachových sadech" (Water well in Karlach's Gardens), "Lodi v Le Fret" (Ships in Le Fret), "Červená bárka" (Red Boat), Bretaňský přístav (Brittany's Port).

tempera on canvas
78 cm x 105 cm (30.7 in. x 41.3 in)

     In the year 1954 was released Máj by K. H. Mácha with a new charcoal drawings by Zrzavý. Later was released Shakespeare's Sonnets with his drawings. In the year 1956 Jan Zrzavý went back to Okrouhlice. One year later he had exhibition of pictures and drawings in Gallery Čs. spisovatel. He had success. In the year 1959 Jan lived in the center of Prague. Another books were publicated with his illustrations. In the fiveties he painted pictures as a "Ostravské haldy" (Ostravian Slag-Heaps), "Zátiší na stolku" (Still-Life on Table), "Loretánské náměstí" (Loretta's Square), "Okrouhlice", "Přístav" (Port), "Ležící dívka" (Lying Girl) and more.

tempera, gold, wood
202 cm x 181 cm (79.5 in. x 71.3 in.)

     In the sixties he lived in Prague and in Okrouhlice. He arranged flat and studio in Okrouhlice. The theatre "Na Zábradlí" arranged exhibition to his 70th birthdays. Zrzavý illustrated Workers of sea by Victor Hugo. In the year 1963 National Gallery in Prague arranged exhibition Lifelong work (1907-1962) of Jan Zrzavý in gallery Mánes. This exhibition was very successful and was repeated in Brno and Bratislava. At the beginning of sixties he painted and drawing pictures "Okrouhlice", "Průmysl a zemědělství" (Industry and Agriculture), "Lodě v úkrytu" (Ships in Hiding Place), "Benátky" (Venice), "Loretánské náměstí" (Loretta's Square), "Piazzeta", "Hlava Krista" (Head of Christ), "Biblický pastíř" (Biblical Pastor) and "Mojžíš" (Moses).

     In the year 1965 he was nominated to National artist.

     On 12th October 1977 Jan Zrzavý died in Prague. He was buried on cemetery in Krucemburk. The memorial desk with his bust was disclose in our elementary school for jubilee of his 100. birtday.