Oil on Board Farmhouse in Summer
19" x 25"
This charming landscape painting captures the mood of a summer’s day in the countryside when the air is warm and thick, the grass smells sweet, and the shade of a tree is a welcome spot of respite for a late afternoon nap. At the left of the composition is the rear view of a humble thatched cottage made of timber and white-plastered stone. A dirt road and young tree divide the image, separating the only evidence of human existence from green fields rendered in delicate impasto and towering mountains shrouded in mist. The short and visible brushstrokes, used to represent the land and sky, are reminiscent of Impressionism – a style that was readily adopted and adapted from Western Europe in Czech art of the early 20th century. This painting is one of many landscapes in the oeuvre of Czech artist Jaroslav Holeček (1902–1953). Holeček began his artistic career under the tutelage of Josef Schusser (1864–1941) before moving on to become an established artist whose works would later be exhibited across Europe. In addition to his own art making, Holeček was a professor at the School of Decorative Arts in Prague, and the founder of the Studio of Monumental Painting and Glass where he trained pupils in glass art in the 1940s and early 1950s. This image, like many of his works, is idyllic: its lethargic and sultry atmosphere, and the simplicity and effectiveness of its composition are sure to inspire peace and serenity in its future home.
At this time in Prague, the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état occurred in late February, resulting in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (with Soviet backing) assuming control over the country’s government. This event marked the beginning of four decades of communist rule in the country, continuing until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The coup profoundly shocked Western countries, as it was the loss of the last remaining democracy in Eastern Europe. Today, the event is seen as a clear marker along the already rapidly advancing road towards the Cold War.