Meda Mládková is a Czech art collector who spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she established a collection of Czech art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. I met Mrs Mládková in her museum on Prague’s Kampa Island and started by asking how she became involved in art collecting in the first place:
It is exactly 50 years since Czechoslovakia’s great triumph at the world Expo exhibition in Brussels, at which the country won the best pavilion award and many Czech and Slovak artists received special prizes. To recall the Czechoslovak success at Expo 1958, the City Gallery of Prague this week opened an exhibition entitled “Brussels Dream”. It aims to recreate the famous Czechoslovak exhibition with authentic objects from Expo 58. It also reflects the lifestyle of the early 1960s, marked by the rise of popular culture and affected by the so-called
It is just under a month ago that some of the country’s most prominent artists and art critics sent a letter to the government calling for a change at the top of the National Gallery. Its signatories accused Milan Knížák, who has been the head of the gallery since 1999, of economic mismanagement, and leading the gallery, and by extension the Czech art world, into isolation. On Tuesday, Mr Knížák reacted to the petition calling for his removal.
Prague Kolektiv is a shop in New York which sells nothing but Czech furniture, lighting and decorative objects from the pre-war avant-garde and mid-century social realism periods. The store, located in the DUMBO district of Brooklyn, has been running for nearly three years and sells mostly original restored pieces (at prices that might startle your average Czech babička), as well as some replicas which it has made in the Czech Republic.
The Czech crown jewels are being packed away on Tuesday, having been on public display for the last ten days. Over the last week and a half, over 30,000 people have visited Prague Castle to view the crown jewels, which only go on display on special occasions. This year, the jewels were shown to mark the 90th anniversary of an independent Czechoslovakia and President Václav Klaus’s re-election. Seven representatives of church and state gathered ten days ago to unlock the safe in which the jewels were held, they will meet again on Tuesday evening to return the crown jewels to their protective chamber within Prague’s Saint Vitus’ Cathedral.
A painting by the renowned Czech artist Jan Zrzavý dating back to 1929 was auctioned on Sunday for a record price of 7.1 million CZK (around 440,000 US dollars), the highest sum ever paid for a Zrzavý painting. Piazetta, a painting capturing the Doge’s Palace in Venice, is currently the 12th most expensive picture sold in the country. The Czech auction record was set at the end of last year by Frantisek Kupka’s "Elevation", which was sold for 22.1 million.
The Czech literary world held its annual awards for the best literary works of 2008, the Magnesia Litera, this weekend. The prize for Book of the Year went to Petr Nikl’s Zahadky, but the reader’s prize went to the author and children’s book illustrator Petr Sís, for his The Wall: Growing Up Behind The Iron Curtain, a book of memoirs of life in communist Czechoslovakia that’s rapidly winning acclaim throughout the world. Petr Sís lives in New York, and before he left to pick up the award in Prague, Ian Willoughby discussed the book with him at
Around 2,500 people have come to see the Czech crown jewels that were put on display in the Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall. The crown jewels are only displayed publicly on special occasions; in the last century, they were exhibited nine times. This time they were brought out to mark the 90th anniversary of an independent Czech state, as well as President Václav Klaus’s reelection. They will be on display for the general public for the next 10 days.
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