The Original Plan by the Painter Georges Kars and F. V. Mokrý to Organise a Prague Exhibition of the École de Paris (1931)
Previously unremarked parts of the correspondence from the F. V. Mokrý collection in the Literary Archive of the Memorial of National Literature and the Georges Kars collection in the Archive of the National Gallery in Prague bear witness to the intensive efforts from 1925–1929 of František Viktor Mokrý, commissioner of the new Mikoláš Aleš Exhibition Hall of the Visual Arts Section of the Arts Club. He was striving for international extensions of its exhibition programme so that an exhibition of the works of Georges Kars, a painter living and working in Paris, could be organised in Prague by the Club. Negotiations surrounding this one-man exhibition promised by the artist culminated in January 1929 with Kars‘s alternative proposal for the organisation of an exhibition with the title École de Paris. To realise this he undertook to engage in every possible way fifteen artists whom he knew well and to ensure their participation personally (e.g. Maurice Utrillo, Raoul Dufy, Emilie Charmy, Marc Chagall). The leadership of the Club enthusiastically accepted the plan which, after expansion and refinement by Vojtěch Volavka, resulted in a prestigious exhibition of modern French art held in May–July 1931 simultaneously in Prague‘s Municipal House and in the Aleš Hall of the Arts Club. As the two years of preparations were reaching their culmination, the project was deliberately pre-empted by the rival Mánes Association of Visual Artists with its competing exhibition, The Art of Contemporary France (March–April 1931). The article, which is accompanied by an appendix containing the edited letters of F. V. Mokrý, Georges Kars, Emil Orlik and Václav Rabas, illuminate, on the basis of archival research, a number of the circumstances and contexts under which the École de Paris exhibition project was created. It also presents a new look at the background of the exhibition‘s preparations, and the hitherto unknown extent of involvement in its realisation by Georges Kars, F. V. Mokrý and later Václav Rabas is revealed. New findings also expand existing knowledge about exhibition strategies rivalry among Art Associations in interwar Czechoslovakia.
Full-text in the Digital Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences: