Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited by Annette Kicken, Rudolf Kicken. Text by Anna Fárová, Vladimir Birgus.
Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) reinvented the genre of nude photography for the early twentieth century. Drtikol opened his Prague studio in 1907, and his nudes from this early period convey the dreamy eroticism of Art Nouveau and the foreboding accents of Prague Symbolism that he was to return to throughout his somewhat brief career (Drtikol abandoned photography for painting in 1935, and it was not until curator Anna Fárová's now legendary 1972 Prague exhibition that this work was rediscovered by a broader public). But Drtikol quickly absorbed into his photography the myriad new idioms of the interbellum years, and freighted his nudes with the dramatic lighting of silent film and the more austere geometric effects and dynamic poses of Futurism, Cubism and Bauhaus. Surveying his daring and expressive nudes of the 1920s and 1930s, this important publication charts Drtikol's adventurous treatments of the nude as they evolved in their quirky conversation with modernist innovations--from the early nymphs and femme fatales to more abstracted studies that dramatize light and kinetic qualities. This smartly conceived volume confirms Drtikol's place as one of the greatest photographers of the early twentieth century.
Though he is best known for his Art Nouveau and Art Deco nudes, when Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) passed way, he left more portrait photography than anything else--thousands of images made between 1910 and the 1930s. This ambitious book is the first ever devoted to those portraits alone. The selection, culled from some 2,000 in Prague's National Archive, presents a gallery of eminent Czechs and Slovaks during the first Czechoslovak Republic, as well as prominent visitors to the country from many walks of life. Apart from their pure documentary value, these images reflect Drtikol's efforts to capture his sitters' inner selves, bridging idealism and materialism. The artist has also been the subject of The Photographer Frantisek Drtikol and Photographs by Frantisek Drtikol; this volume is compiled and written by Josef Moucha.