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Tomáš Hylmar

První výstava Skupiny 42 pohledem Ladislava Zívra

In the spring of 1943 a modern art exhibition of over seventy paintings, sculptures, and photographs was held in the town of Nová Paka. Most of the young artists exhibiting work were members of the recently founded Group 42 (Skupina 42). The exhibition showed work by the painters František Gross, Kamil Lhoták, František Hudeček, Lev Šimák, Jan Smetana, Jan Kotík, the sculptors Ladislav Zívr and Jindřich Soukup, and the photographer Miroslav Hák. (Jindřich Soukup and Lev Šimák, however, never joined Group 42.) The sculptor Ladislav Zívr described the atmosphere of the Nová Paka exhibition in his journal entries, which are now located in the Archive of the National Gallery in Prague. Zívr kept an ongoing record of events connected with the preparations and the pre-opening of the exhibition and remarked on the exhibitors and their works. The arrival of friends and guests was a special occasion for him as he had been living in Nová Paka for over a year, cut off from the cultural events in the capital city. The exhibition also injected new life into his art work. The exhibition was organised under the auspices of the Local Enlightenment Committee and the National Union in Nová Paka, and the three figures very instrumental in its organisation were Ambrož Těhník, a teacher at the local secondary school, Josef Kubíček, secretary of the National Union in Nová Paka, and Ladislav Zívr. The exhibition had its launch on Sunday, 21 March 1943, in the assembly hall of the local secondary school. However, the successful exhibition was cut short when one of the organisers, Josef Kubíček, and Ladislav Zívr's sister Milada were arrested in connection with concealing the whereabouts of the parachutists. In addition, someone submitted an anonymous report that the banned artist Jan Smetana was taking part in the exhibition. Even though these occurrences led the authorities in Nová Paka to shut down the exhibition prematurely, it can still be regarded as having been a success as the first collective public appearance of the artists who would later become the famous Group 42. The exhibition received a positive response from visitors, collectors, and critics, and even commercially it proved a major success for the exhibiting artists. This success provided an impetus to organise another exhibition in the autumn of that same year, this time at Topič Salon in Prague.

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