Frantisek Drtikol

The Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) began his career when Prague Symbolism and "Art Nouveau" still held sway. The influence of these movements is evident in his early nude photographs, which convey a sense of alienation in their painterly quality. In the twenties and early thirties Drtikol reshaped the genre of classical nude photography by synthesizing into a new aesthetic aspects from silent film, avantgarde art, expressive dance and Art Deco design.

After his student years in the artistically fertile Munich of the turn of the century, after his apprenticeship and military service, he opened his own photographic studio in Prague, which became one of the most successful in Europe of the twenties. That his fame later suffered an almost total eclipse is only partly explained by the historical circumstances of the time, for in the early thirties Drtikol gave up photography, sold his studio, valuable glass pates and negatives, to devote himself to painting and mysticism in the seclusion of a hermit's life.

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