Nude Study, 1927 Vintage pigment print, flush-mounted to card. The photographer's blindstamp credit in the image lower right. 16.7 x 22.8cm (6 9/16 x 9in).
Frantisek Drtikol's curious imagination and creativity, combined with his fearless interrogation of the styles of the time - Cubism, Functionalism, Constructivism, Art Deco - work to create a highly personal and original aesthetic. His images stand alongside the greatest photographic works of the first three decades of the twentieth century; he was a pioneer in both technique and subject matter. Fascinated by the anxiety between innocent childhood and carnal lust, Drtikol was the first Czech photographer to address puberty in his work in and, indeed, the first Czech photographer to depict the female form in such a daring, radical and startingly modern way. As his studies of nudes develop, the women become more abstract signs than living forms. The earlier voluptuousness of the models' curves gives way to geometrical compositions where the curves of the body now form part of a more stylised pattern encompassing geometric decorations and shadows. Eventually, in the 1930s, Drtikol dispensed with the live body altogether, using plywood figures to achieve the forms and positions he desired.