Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jindrich Prucha

The Village Green in Ronov nad Doubravou
oil on canvas
86 × 100 cm
National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic

Jindrich Prucha (1886-1914) was a Czech landscape and portrait painter in the Fauvist and Expressionist styles.
He was also an amateur violinist, singer, occasional poet and sportsman. He was killed in a battle in Galicia in 1914, but he was buried in a mass grave and his family was not notified for several months. Despite having such a short life, he managed to produce at least 200 oil paintings and over 600 pastels. In 1944, the Nobel Prize winning Czech poet, Jaroslav Seifert wrote a long poem called Pruchovo jaro (Prucha's Spring).

He was the last child born to a family of modest means, when his parents were already in their forties. His father was a member of the gendarmerie and the family moved frequently. After graduating Gymnasium, to please his parents, he decided on a career in philology and enrolled at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. However, his interest in art persisted. Although he told his family that he would complete his philology degree, he neglected to do so and devoted himself to art.

He steadfastly refused to exhibit, but still became a full member of the Manes Union in 1911. Deciding that it was time for some formal training, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. He left the Academy in 1912, and applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, but the requirements were too strict and he ended by attending the Technical University and taking drawing classes, which were designed to train high-school art teachers. In late 1913, he began to exhibit locally, enjoying some success at a personal showing.