Photographs by Frantis¡ek Drtikol. Edited by Annette Kicken, Rudolf Kicken.
Text by Anna Fárová, Vladimir Birgus.
Hatje Cantz, 2012. 96 pp., 60 color illustrations, 9½x12¼".
Czech photographer Frantis¡ek Drtikol (1883–1961)
reinvented the genre of nude photography for the
early twentieth century. Drtikol opened his Prague
studio in 1907, and his nudes from this early period
convey the dreamy eroticism of Art Nouveau and
the foreboding accents of Prague Symbolism that
hew as to return to throughout his somewhat brief
career (Drtikol abandoned photography for painting
in 1935, and it was not until curator Anna Fárová’s
now legendary 1972 Prague exhibition that this work
was rediscovered by a broader public). But Drtikol
quickly absorbed into his photography the myriad
new idioms of the interbellum years, and freighted
his nudes with the dramatic lighting of silent
film and the more austere geometric effects and
dynamic poses of Futurism, Cubismand Bauhaus.
Surveying his daring and expressive nudes of the
1920s and 1930s, this important publication charts
Drtikol’s adventurous treatments of the nude as they
evolved in their quirky conversation with modernist
innovations—from the early nymphs and femme
fatales tomore abstracted studies that dramatize
light and kinetic qualities. This smartly conceived volume
confirms Drtikol’s place as one of the greatest
photographers of the early twentieth century.