Memorial to Max Švabinský
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Memorial to Max Švabinský, famous Kroměříž native, was inaugurated as a permanent exposition of the Museum of Kroměříž district in October, 1976. In April 2002, so far the largest transformation changing its appearance, equipment and contents began. A Scholar of Fine Art Jana Orliková became the author of the project in co-operation with the museum employees. The re-inauguration was held in April 2003 attended by Mrs. Zuzana Švabinská – Vejrychová. Selection of the artist`s masterpiece is arranged chronologically in six halls. Up to 130 originals (oil painting, graphic, drawing) represent seven decades of Švabinský`s production, introduced in the catalogue by Jana Orlíková – Enchanted Lover of Life.
Max Švabinský was born on the 17th of September in 1873 in Kroměříž. Together with Jan Preisler, Antonín Slavíček and Miloš Jiránek he belongs to the generation of painters preparing the oncoming of our modern art of the 20th century. Švabinský`s first painting and drawing steps were formed in the course of the nineties influenced by contemporary tendencies of plein air realism, symbolism and art nouveau. Family and portrait were resources and certainties he relied on and where he found the most impulses for his work.
Since the late nineties he and his wife Ela often stayed at Vejrychs` in Kozlov near Česká Třebová. There he found inspiration not only in beautiful hilly landscape, but it was also in Kozlov, where his work of intimate poetry, such as The Camellias or The Birds of Paradise, was born as well as masterpieces like The Poor Country and large monumental pen-and-ink drawings Two Mothers and Great Family Portrait belonging among the best Švabinský`s works.
It was in Kozlov, where he began to devote his time systematicaly to graphics, more particularly to engraving and mezzotint, which was a natural part of the development of his drawing talent. He started to dedicate his most significant atistic confessions to graphics even more and more. For the high quality of his work, he was nominated the professor of the Prague Academy in 1910. The range of his expression was enriched with wood cut in Elysian Sonata, in 1917, when the importance of his graphics production started to dominate his painting work.
In the thirties he got the opportunity to express himself in monumental forms. After the mosaics for the National Monument on Žižkov hill, he painted plates for three coloured windows in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. He could perfectly make use of the incorporation of his painting and drawing talents in the above mentioned works. At the same time and with the same intensive graphic interest, he was able to design a graphic miniature of a postage stamp. At the first meeting of the government in 1945, he was awarded the title of “National Artist”.
Max Švabinský died on the 10th of February in 1962 and he kept drawing even until the last days. The scope of nature began to get smaller and smaller for him, first it was the Chodov garden, later only a window, a twig or a butterfly. Even in such details he was able to express his life confession; admiration and love for nature.