Friday, August 28, 2015

Zdenka Braunerova

In a quiet garden of the lesser quarter
watercolor on paper
43.5 × 32 cm
location unknown

Zdenka Braunerova (1858-1934) was a Czech landscape painter, illustrator and graphic artist.
In addition to her painting, she was also a printmaker, book designer and glass engraver.
For many years, she was involved in efforts to help prevent the destruction of the Medieval section of Prague and the old Jewish ghetto. As part of this effort, she created a series of prints depicting the area. Many younger artists received financial support from her.

She was born into a wealthy family. Her father was a member of the Imperial Council. She developed her interest in art from her mother who was an amateur painter. Prominent writers and artists were regular guests at her home.

A major inspiration for her art was Paris, where she spent part of each year from 1881 to 1893, and the painters of the Barbizon school. While there, she also attended the Academie Colarossi and exhibited frequently; in Paris at the Salon and in Prague at the Rudolfinum.  In 1896, she became the first female member of the Manes Union of Fine Arts.

However, she never abandoned her connections to her homeland, often taking part in performances where she would dance in Czech costumes and sing folk songs. She had, in fact considered becoming a singer before turning to art.

Later, she opened a studio in Roztoky and, in 1902, she extended an invitation to Auguste Rodin to visit Bohemia and Moravia. In 1909, she developed a close friendship with Paul Claudel, who was serving as the French consul in Prague. Roztoky would be her home for the rest of her life, and she would draw inspiration from the rural people and landscapes, while keeping a detailed diary and series of sketchbooks. She continued to exhibit until 1932 and died while staying at her family's home in Prague.