Saturday, April 11, 2015

Anna Zemánková

Anna Zemánková (1908-1986) was a Czech artist whose life spanned one of the worst periods in the history of her country; her first memories must have been of the era of World War I, and after living through World War II and communism she died just before freedom returned for the Czechs. But that didn't stop her from creating art.

She painted in her youth -- regular looking landscapes, from what I have seen -- but then gave it up when she had a bunch of children. Her husband was an army officer both before and after World War II. The narrative of her life on a sort of official Czech web site devoted to her work has this for the ensuing years:

1948Birth of daughter Anna. The family moves to Prague, where Major Zemánek has been called on to serve at the General Staff of the Czechoslovak Armed Forces.
1950sPeriod of mental instability, unhappiness and frustration.
1960Anna’s sons Slavomír (at the time a medical student) and Bohumil (a future student of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts) discover their mother’s paintings in the attic and convince her to return to her artistic activities. Through this autotherapy, Anna rediscovers the meaning to life that she had lost as her children had grown up and her maternal role had weakened. Drawing and painting would be her main activity until the end of her life.

Well, what can I add to that?

Her paintings started out in 1960 depicting flowers that are a bit fantastic but nonetheless recognizable, but then evolved into more and more bizarre forms.

1 comment:

Katya said...

Fascinating Folk Art/Embroidery influence. Those first pictures are almost stock images--and then, where does she go from there?

Thanks for posting, John.