New exhibit showcases lesser-known Mucha work alongside modern Czech artist Pasta Oner

The exhibit features a Mucha painting that hasn't been seen for nearly two decades

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 25.06.2020 15:03 (updated on 25.06.2020)

Following a two-month closure due to coronavirus restrictions and the subsequent widespread travel ban on tourists to the Czech Republic, Prague’s Kampa Museum in Malá Strana is currently faced with critically low attendance.

The museum is hoping that a new exhibition bringing together a distinctive pair of Czech artists, will help boost the museum’s numbers this summer.

Earlier this week, “The Elusive Fusion” exhibit opened at Kampa. It includes works by Alfons Mucha and Pasta Oner. “The two never met. But they have a lot in common,” Jiří Pospíšil, chairman of the museum’s board of directors told the Czech daily Metro in an interview.

Pospíšil goes on to say that both have similar themes and means of expression despite the fact that they are separated by a hundred years.

Alfons Mucha, Roman Times and the Arrival of the Slavs, 1900, (part of the decoration of the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the World Exhibition in Paris, 1900), watercolour, tempera on canvas, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague

Some of those similarities include, according to the curatorial materials, “an internally structured visual statement, based on the everyday needs of advertising, an ambiguous clash of different stylistic sources, themes and illuminating meanings.” These motifs have found their distinctive continuation in Oner’s paintings.

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The exhibit includes a 7×4-meter large-format Mucha painting from 1900, “Roman Times and the Arrival of the Slavs,” a decorative piece for the pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the World Exhibition in Paris 1900. Prior to creating the Slav Epic, Mucha experimented with the large-format technique, and this work was a forerunner of his famed 20-painting cycle.

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Pospíšil says the painting, originally a fresco, has not been exhibited for over twenty years.

The exhibit runs through October 25. Visit the Museum Kampa site for more details.

The museum will also open an outdoor exhibit June 27 devoted to Czech political prisoner Milada Horáková, “Don’t forget me: Milada Horáková and the largest show trial.”