Jan Sládek’s unseen paintings from a museum collection

Jan Sládek’s unseen paintings from a museum collection

Another rarity presented at the Ostrava’s Unseen Story exhibition is a set of thirty paintings by Jan Sládek, an important figure of the interwar Ostrava art scene and theory of art. These artworks from collections of the Ostrava City Museum were specially prepared to be displayed at this exhibition.

It is for the first time that the museum presents a collection of paintings by this native of Ostrava, whose extensive work, despite its supra-regional importance, remains somewhat unknown to the public. Jan Sládek was born in 1906 in Ostrava-Kunčičky (died in 1982 in Prague). He was a painter, graphic designer, costume designer, teacher and translator as well as set designer and illustrator. He illustrated books written by K. J. Erben, Karolína Světlá, Sigmund Winter and others. In the interwar period, he was an important figure of the Ostrava art scene and theory of art. Sládek was actively painting from the late 1920s to the end of the 1950s, and his most productive period was in the 1930s. In his work we encounter social issues and the influence of Cubism. In the 1930s, he lived and worked in Ostrava and was one of the main organizers of local cultural life. He moved to Prague after the end of World War II and, in addition to illustrating books, devoted himself primarily to scenography.

The Ostrava’s Unseen Story exhibition features Sládek’s artworks from a comprehensive set of urban and industrial interiors, which are part of Ostrava City Museum’s collections. They can be found in the section called Poetic Ostrava, which presents works of artists solely from Ostrava and its region.

Prior to the beginning of the exhibition, which celebrates the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava, the set of Sládek’s works had to be specially prepared, documented and framed.  After the end of the exhibition on 2 July, it will be deposited in special folders and boxes in the depository and prepared for lending to other museums and galleries that are already interested in it. In order to professionally process and store Sládek’s works, the Ostrava City Museum received a special grant from the City of Ostrava within the framework supporting projects celebrating the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava.