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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – December 2007

FRIEDRICH FEIGL: King David Street in Jerusalem, 1933

pencil drawing and gouache on cardboard, 536 x 370 mm,
signed and dated bottom left: Feigl 1933
dedication below: Herrn Rudolf Schick herzlichst zug.
provenance: acquired by the Central Jewish Museum in 1943–44 from confiscated Jewish property administered by the Treuhandstelle (Trustee Office)
JMP 79.728

Friedrich Feigl (1884, Prague – 1965, London) attended the Prague Academy of Art in 1904–05 and continued his studies in Antwerp and Paris. After returning to Prague, he founded the Osma group with other young artists and took part in its first group show in Prague in April 1907, which is considered to mark the beginning of modern art in Bohemia. The exhibition caused a scandal with its vivid colours, expressive images and total rejection of the academicism of the day.
From 1910 Feigl lived in Berlin, where he focused mainly on prints and illustrations. In 1932–33 he visited Palestine, where the Jewish memorial sites and their present-day life left a deep impression on him. He returned from the Holy Land with a series of paintings and sketches whose motifs were never to disappear entirely from his subsequent work. These include the gouache on display, King David Street in Jerusalem. In Bohemia in the following years (1933–39), he came to the fore as a painter.
In March 1939 he and his wife managed to escape to England, where he was actively involved in the Czechoslovak artistic life in exile. After the war, Feigl continued to paint and to exhibit, mainly landscapes and his favourite biblical motifs, but also scenes from street-side cafés. He died on the 17th of December 1965 in London, a few months before his 82nd birthday.
To mark the centenary of the Osma’s first exhibition and the 70th anniversary of Feigl’s last show in Prague, we have prepared an exhibition at the Robert Guttmann Gallery at U Staré školy 3 (rear tract of the Spanish Synagogue), which runs until the 20th of January 2008.


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