Joža Uprka (Czech, 1861-1940) Going to the fields 31 3/4 x 51 3/4in (80.6 x 131.5cm)

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Lot 64
Joža Uprka
(Czech, 1861-1940)
Going to the fields 31 3/4 x 51 3/4in (80.6 x 131.5cm)

US$ 50,000 - 70,000
£ 39,000 - 54,000
Joža Uprka (Czech, 1861-1940)
Going to the fields
signed with monogram and dated '05' (lower left)
oil on canvas
31 3/4 x 51 3/4in (80.6 x 131.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist;
    Gift to his sister, Hodonin, Czech Republic;
    Acquired by the father of the present owner from the above, circa 1958;
    Gifted to the present owner, 1968.

    The son of a Moravian peasant, Uprka learned the rudiments of painting from his father, an amateur painter, and later solidified his skills at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In his 20s, he moved to Munich, where he enrolled at the Academy and founded a Czech students organization alongside Alfons Mucha. Following Mucha to Paris in 1892, Uprka was able to study and exhibit at the Salon with his friend's assistance.

    Uprka remained devoted to his country of origin, particularly to Southern Moravia, whose peasants and country life he abundantly depicted. His paintings pay homage to the traditions of the Moravian people, who proudly feature in their finest costumes at various festival, ceremonies and religious pilgrimages. The colorful hand-embroidered skirts in bright-red cotton with matching red headdress are rendered in Uprka's inimitable style that uniquely blends elements of Romanticism and Art Nouveau.

    Returning to Moravia in the late 1890s, Uprka started exhibiting in Prague in 1897 and remained active in the local art scene until the 1930s. His studio was a popular gathering place for painters, writers and musicians who found inspiration in the country's folklore.

    In the present painting, Uprka departs from his preferred subject matter of celebration and turns his attention to the daily labor of the villagers. The group is portrayed in the process of going to the fields, carrying their tools on their shoulders and lunch pails in hands. The young girls are wearing the traditional red dresses and scarves, while the older members of the group are clad in unassuming dark and brown garb. Uprka's reverence for the working class of his country is palpable in this composition that brings to the foreground the simplicity and beauty of country life.
Contacts
Joža Uprka (Czech, 1861-1940) Going to the fields 31 3/4 x 51 3/4in (80.6 x 131.5cm)
Joža Uprka (Czech, 1861-1940) Going to the fields 31 3/4 x 51 3/4in (80.6 x 131.5cm)
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