František Kupka: As Varied As Talented

On November 4, 2014 by Tim Newman

František Kupka - The Black Idol

František Kupka is a new find for me, many thanks to James from The Seance Radio for pointing me in the correct direction to receive his wonder.

Kupka (1871 – 1957) was a Czech painter and graphic artist; he is regarded as a pioneer and co-founder of the early phase of abstract art and Orphic cubism (or Orphism). Orphism, in a nutshell, was like cubism, but even more abstract and, in part, paved the way for fully formed Abstract art.

Kupka’s earlier work was grounded in realism but as his career went on, he delved ever deeper into the bowels of surrealism.

Kupka started his professional artistry as a caricature and cartoon man for newspapers and magazines in Paris but his style gradually morphed. His work began to encompass more Renaissance-based imagery, before floating across to visit notions of the avant-garde and sometimes even flirting on the fringes of sci-fi.

Here’s a couple of Kupka’s magazine illustrations:

Illustraion - František Kupka - demon Illustraion - František Kupka - Neanderthal

I think the depth and breadth of his work is what impresses me the most, he’s obviously a great painter too of course…

František Kupka - Babylon František Kupka - Balada de Epona František Kupka - Creación František Kupka - Disks of Newton František Kupka - Katedrála

František Kupka - Nude and Sea

Below is a self-portrait of Kupka and his wife, who sounds like she was pretty cool, too. When WWI rolled round the corner Kupka was too old to be drafted, so he volunteered to fight. He was a good 25 years older than most of the troops around him but it seems he felt the need to fulfill his duty.

When Kupka’s group set out on the march from Paris to the front in Picardy his wife met them en route. Mme Kupka carried Mr Kupka’s bag and rifle for as long as she could until the colonel finally had her arrested and sent back to Paris. Later she made her way back to the front on her own to spend time with him.

Kupka himself eventually left the front line due to frost bite.

František Kupka - Self Portrait With Wife František Kupka - The autumn sun, three goddess

This next work is called The Way of Silence and he decided to make two equally enchanting versions for us…

František Kupka - The Way of Silence 2 František Kupka - The Way of Silence František Kupka - Woman and Demons František Kupka - Yellow Man





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