Lot 92
Václav Špála (1885 - 1946) FLOODED BEROUNKA RIVER

1925
Oil on canvas
81,5 x 100,5 cm (h x w)
Signed: Lower right " V Špála 25“

Starting price
2 300 000 CZK
   |   92 000 €
Price realized
3 600 000 CZK
   |   144 000 €
price without premium

Flooded Berounka river, is an original, exceedingly typical, melodic landscape painting by Václav Špála, one of the foremost exponents of the Czech avant-garde movement and a member of  the Group of Fine Artists, the Tvrdošíjní (“Stubborn Ones”) art group, and Mánes Union of Fine Artists. His painting was direct and vibrant, expressing sensual urgency. … From the very outset his Fauvist inclinations set him apart from his colleagues in the Osma group, whose work was oriented more towards Expressionism. Špála’s paintings always uniquely reflected a sense of immediacy and unrestrained joy from the painting process, as well as an essential sense for order, a feeling for pure color tone, and emancipation from agonizing existential questions. Through his new interpretation of the landscape and still lifes with flowers or fruits, Václav Špála became the main exponent of Bohemian painters’ affinity for the sensual hedonism of the ‘Golden’ Twenties. In his search for a striking, immediately potent expression, Špála did not hesitate to apply the principles of Post-Cubist deformation of form and to reduce the colors to two or three contrasting tones without denying his elementary relationship to the real natural world. His 'green period' lasted from 1923 to 1926, followed by his blue period in 1927–1930, when he painted in shades of aquamarine and Prussian blue, although this color retained its heraldic significance in his work until the end of his life. Špála’s hymn to nature is exemplarily reflected in his landscape paintings, which he approached with a sense of monumentality. One such painting is Flooded Berounka river, an enchanting specimen from Špála’s famed  'green period' that, in line with the period movements of the 1920s, marked a peak in his renewed contact with the reality of the seen world. Karel Teige aptly called Václav Špála a 'lyricist of nature … a broadcaster of the sun and life' intoxicated from the colors of joy. The most characteristic and most coherent group from this vitalist direction in terms of expression are his paintings from the area around Srbsko, a village on the Berounka River that the artist painted in 1925–1926. The painting was executed face-to-face with nature, en plein air. This particular painting is an unusually pure and generous and Špála masterfully captured the majesty of the cliffs, the smoothly flowing river, and the lush vegetation surrounding the meander under an azure summer sky. It is the fascinating visual rhythm of land, sky, and water, transformed in the natural order of the painting. The expert opinion of PhDr. Rea Michalová Ph.D. is included.

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