Josef Mžyk


Works of Art:
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1944 (2 February) born in Vienna as one of twins. His father was an airforce engineer, Werner Hammerschmidt. His mother Anna moved at the end of the war to Opava, where in 1959 she married Rudolf Mžyk; the sons received their adoptive name.

1962-1966 Study at the Applied Art School in Uherské Hradiště specializing in monumental and decorative painting. Created a series of romantic ink drawings such as tree-lined avenues and cemeteries, pervaded by an onerous melancholy. Romanticism also led Mžyk to the sport of fencing, which he has devoted himself to ever since. His school painting compositions are characterized by an abstract decorative style conceived in terms of fiat areas and a richly differentiated colour scheme.

1967-1973 Study at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under Prof. Vojtěch Tittelbach, then at the graphic art school under Ladislav Čepelák. He created expressive monochrome paintings and dynamic drawings also transposed into the techniques of dry point and lithography. He finished his study with a cycle of lithographs composed with fiat colour areas. After graduating, Mžyk worked with lithography and serigraphy.

1968 Married in the Vatican at the Church of St Anna. His wife, Marie, studied at the Philosophy Faculty of Palacký University, and specialized in history, theory and art teaching. Influenced by his stay in Italy, Mžyk created fantasy narrative visions from the urban interior and work with biblical themes.

1969 Birth of his daughter Alice. Mžyk worked on a series of expressive drawings and lithographs on the theme "Mother and Child". He also concentrated on portraiture.

1973 Birth of his second daughter Klára. In the 1970s, Mžyk's work linked up with that of his secondary school studies. The wave of Pop Art provided a stimulus to his painting, which became pervaded by a new monumentality and fiat areas of striking colour. He created a series of paintings portraying objects andčscenes from everyday life (e.g. armchairs, women at their toilet, still life). In his graphic art, he focused on serigraphs with a dominant fiat colour design (e.g. the Women and Machines series).

1974-1975 Taught drawing at the Secondary School of Graphic Design in Prague. He produced a series of objectivized drawings using an integrated and polished style. His careful and cultivated works with their vegetal and figurative themes were characterized by a disciplined and contemplative approach.

1975 First sólo exhibition at the Mánes Youth Gallery. From 1976 Mžyk was able to devote himself solely to his art, concentrating on painting and graphic art. At his studio in the Košíře district of Prague (where the artist Václav Brožík was once supposed to háve painted) as well as at another studio in Prague-Vinohrady there began to be organized shows by non-conformist artists and young artists (including Adriena Simotová, Stanislav Kolíbal, Jiří John, Jaroslava Svobodová, Stanislav Zippe, the exhibition 10 artists, Confrontation, etc). Lectures were also arranged.

1981 Mžyk began creating monumental works for architecture using polyurethane paint on aluminium sheets.

1981-1982 Study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the studio of professor Olivier Debré. Mžyk staged his first sólo exhibition in Paris and also took part in group shows in Paris and elsewhere in France. His stay in Paris and also the setting of his Vinohrady studio influenced the atmosphere of his pictures: the aesthetic principles of brightness and colour harmony featured strongly in his Gardens series.

1984 Another study trip to Paris, and participation in an exhibition of the artists who had received study grants.

1985-1986 A solo travelling exhibition in France

1987 Began focusing more on book and magazíne illustration. Moved away from illusive painting to dynamic work using polyurethane paint on card. A strikingly expressive element came to the fóre, together with deformation and an unfinished quality, stimulated by subjected motivation.

1990 A marked change occurred in Mžyk's work, leading to the rhythmic organization of abstract forms. The fiat, vividly coloured area was edged by lineš in the style of drawing. He produced a series of pictures pervaded by vegetative-organic elements.

2003 … Started to work in the studio located in Pařížská Street no. 7, Prague.

His daughter Alice, an art historian, was a cultural attaché of the Czech Embassy in Switzerland. At present she lives in Germany.
His daughter Klára is a sculptor and a painter; she co-participated at several exhibitions with Mžyk.
His wife ..., an art historian, is a publisher and editor-in-chief of ... magazine. She specialises in French art and 19th century painting.

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