Doesburg from Collage Butterfly Series (1970)
JIŘÍ KOLÁŘ (1914-2002)
Collage on card; Signed and dated on the verso
In handmade frame
Jiří Kolář was one of the most important postwar poets/visual artists in Central Europe – as well as one of the bravest.
A member of the avant-garde Group 42 (disbanded in 1948 following the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia), most of his major texts were composed in the 1950s and ’60s. In 1952, he was arrested, jailed, and branded an “enemy of the state” when the secret police discovered the manuscript to his collection of prose and poetry, Prometheus’s Liver.
He is, however, more well known internationally for his collage innovations, including his famous series Weekly 1968. He developed a number of techniques for combining and manipulating scraps of texts and images from a variety of sources to portray the destruction and fragmentation of the world around him, and by the 1970s his work was being exhibited throughout Europe.
Kolář signed Charter 77, which put him in direct opposition to the Communist regime and ultimately forced him into exile. He lived in Paris from 1980, but frequently visited Prague after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, spending his final years in the city.
This collage one of his highly sought-after butterfly collage series in which Kolář extracted sections of an artists’ work and collaged them into butterfly wings. This example uses the work of Theo Van Doesburg (1883-1931).
Jiri Kolar’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price being 102,987 USD for Tagebuch, sold at Sothebys Amsterdam in 2009.