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6 Bridge Street Lambertville, NJ 08530 United States 609.397.7700
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"Lower Manhattan"

Documentation Signed
Documentation Notes Signed & dated lower left
Origin United States, New York
Period 1920-1949
Materials Oil on Board
Dimensions
W. 16 in; H. 20 in;
W. 40.64 cm; H. 50.8 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1940
Description Jim’s of Lambertville is proud to offer this artwork by:

Vaclav Vytlacil (1892-1984)


Vaclav Vytlacil was born to Czechoslovakian parents in 1892 in New York City. Living in Chicago as a youth, he took classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, returning to New York when he was 20. From 1913 to 1916, he enjoyed a scholarship from the Art Students League, and worked with John C. Johansen (a portraitist whose expressive style resembled that of John Singer Sargent), and Anders Zorn.

Vytlacil accepted a teaching position at the Minneapolis School of Art in 1916, remaining there until 1921. This enabled him to travel to Europe to study Cézanne’s paintings and works of the Old Masters. He traveled to Paris, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, and Munich seeking the works of Titian, Cranach, Rembrandt, Veronese, and Holbein, which gave Vytlacil new perspective. He studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich, settling there in 1921. Fellow students were Ernest Thurn and Worth Ryder, who introduced Vytlacil to famous abstractionist Hans Hofmann. Vytlacil worked with Hofmann from about 1922 to 1926, as a student and teaching assistant.

During the summer of 1928, after returning to the United States, Vytlacil gave lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, on modern European art. Soon thereafter, he became a member of the Art Students League faculty. After one year, Vytlacil returned to Europe and successfully persuaded Hofmann to teach at the League as well. Vytlacil spent about six years in Europe, studying the works of Matisse, Picasso, and Dufy. In 1935, Vytlacil returned to New York and became a co-founder of the American Abstract Artists group in 1936. He later had teaching posts at Queens College in New York; the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California; Black Mountain College in North Carolina; and the Art Students League.

Vytlacil's paintings exhibit a clear inclination toward modernism. His still lives and interiors from the 1920s indicate an understanding of the art of Cézanne. In the 1930s, Vytlacil's works displayed two very different kinds of art at the same time. His cityscapes and landscapes combine Cubist-inspired spatial concerns with an expressionistic approach to line and color. Vytlacil also used old wood, metal, cork, and string in constructions, influenced by his friend and former student, Rupert Turnbull. Vytlacil eventually ceased creating constructions as he considered them too limiting. The spatial challenges of painting were still his preference. During the 1940s and 1950s, his works indicated a sense of spontaneity not felt in his earlier work.

Vytlacil married Elizabeth Foster in Florence, Italy, in 1927 and they lived and worked in Positano, Italy for extended periods of time. Later on, they divided their time between homes in Sparkill, New York and Chilmark, Massachusetts, where "Vyt", as he was affectionately called, taught at the Martha's Vineyard Art Association beginning in 1941. He was associated with the Old Sculpin Group and often exhibited his works in its galleries on the island.

Vytlacil was honored with solo shows at The Carnegie Institute, Montclair Art Museum, Phillips Memorial Gallery, Krasner Gallery, University of Notre Dame, Rochester Art Gallery, and others.

Vaclav Vytlacil died in 1984 in New York, at age 92.
Styles / Movements Abstract Expressionism
Dealer Reference Number PB0199
Incollect Reference Number 344910
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