Monday, September 14, 2015

Jan Preisler

Koupani (bathers)
circa 1900
oil on canvas
other details unknown

Jan Preisler (1872-1918) was a Czech painter and art professor. He was a pioneer in modern Bohemian art, and his work developed from pure Art Nouveau and Symbolism towards Expressionism, in three phases.

His family worked in the local iron foundry and he attended the nearby primary schools. From childhood he was a loner, he enjoyed observing nature and the elements. He preferred walks in the woods to playing with friends. His drawings attracted the attention of his headmaster and he was sent for studies in Prague, with financial support. In 1887, at the age of fifteen, he began his studies at the School of Applied Arts.

He travelled to Italy in 1902, helped design the posters for the Edvard Munch exhibition of 1905 in Prague and visited Paris in 1906, where he was influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin. In 1903, he became a teacher of nude drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts and served as a Professor there from 1913 until his death. He died of pneumonia in 1918.