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Additional resources for Art and Life in Modernist Prague: Karel Čapek and His Generation, 1911–1938

Sample text

Creamware, ivory glaze, black painted lines. Courtesy of Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. 6 Josef Gočár, desk and chair (1915). Polished ash, leather, glass, brass. Courtesy of Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, collection of Dr. Deyl. imaginative new design tradition. In the years after the war, a style derivative of prewar cubism, rondo-cubism, became something like the national architectural style. There can be no doubt, then, that in the years prior to the First World War, Prague was an important center of cubist art.

Instead, they turned inward, ushering in a period of aestheticism whereby they sought through the medium of art to arrive at new collective truths. If the characteristic difference in cultural life among Vienna and Budapest was the relationship of their intellectual bourgeoisies to German and Hungarian nationalism, and if their characteristic similarities were the absence (or loss) of a national alternative coupled with a high degree of marginality, then the proper place to begin a study of cultural life in Prague would seem to be with the relationship of that city’s intellectual bourgeoisie to Czech nationalism and the degree of marginality of that social group.

In the company of his father, he was introduced to “the hovels of the poor and the dimly-lit rooms of millionaires; the smalltown world of craftsmen and shopkeepers, poorhouses and factories . . 37 Although Čapek chose not to pursue a career in medicine, his father was a tremendously important figure in his life. A tall, large, broadshouldered man, Antonín Čapek had an imposing physical presence that differed starkly from that of his youngest son who was short, slight, and sickly. Antonín was a man of immense energy and talent who was deeply involved in Úpice’s public and associational life.

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