Karel Souček is one of the most distinctive figures of the generation of artists who came of age in the 1940s. Following his difficult beginnings in Kladno, he joined Group 42 and its program, which was focused on the modern world and poetry of the city. As a resident of working-class Kladno and coming from a family of humble means, he was absolutely enchanted with big-city life, as symbolized in its store windows, shop-lined passages, alleys, cafeterias and fast-food stands, cafés and hairdressers. After the war his small paintings increasingly expanded in size, often taking the form of triptychs and polyptychs that went on to become parts of larger series, most of which were dedicated to the theme of passageways.
Following the Communist Putsch of 1948 his work no longer matched the ideals of Socialist Realism and Souček was marginalized. However, he and his Group 42 colleague Jan Kotík were among those contributing to the Czechoslovak pavilion winning the Gold Medal at Expo 58 in Brussels. This brought him official recognition and he was given a professorship at the Academy, briefly holding the office of dean in the late 1960s.