Frantisek Drtikol


After an apprenticeship in photography, František Drtikol (Czech, 1883–1961) studied at the Bayerische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Munich. From 1910 he headed a studio for portrait and nude photography in Prague. Among those he trained and later hired was Jaroslav Rössler. Drtikol’s photographs combine elements of Art Nouveau with geometric ornaments into a distinct expressive visual style. In the 1920s and 1930s, when he was most famous, he received a number of significant awards at international photo salons, had many independent exhibitions in Europe and the United States, and he published his Le nus de Drtikol (Drtikol’s Nudes) in 1929 and žena ve svetle (Woman in the Light) in 1938. In 1935 he dissolved his studio, took up painting, and became interested in Buddhism, and yoga. His work remained forgotten until 1972 when Anna Fárová of Prague’s Museum for Arts and Crafts rediscovered and published it. After years of oblivion, his work has now been popularized in many exhibitions and in several books.