About us
Artists František Kupka
František Kupka Photo

František Kupka

Czech Painter, Illustrator, and Writer

Movements and Styles: Symbolism, Orphism

Born: September 23, 1871 - Opocno, Eastern Boehmia, Czech Republic

Died: June 24, 1957 - Puteaux, France

František Kupka Timeline

Quotes

"The moment has come for me to write, draw, and paint my credo. In the last month I have destroyed much of my work... Looked at carefully, they were mostly tumors remaining from my bad times."
František Kupka
"Once you realize that it is impossible to capture the character of the various manifestations of nature by pictorial means, and that an interpretation based on imagination is equally erroneous, you will not find yourself facing a gaping void as you might have feared."
František Kupka
"Yesterday I experienced a split consciousness where it seemed I was observing the earth from outside. I was in great empty space and saw the planets rolling quietly. After that it was difficult to come back to the trivia of everyday life."
František Kupka
"Man is nature aware of itself"
František Kupka
"I can find something between sight and hearing and I can produce a fugue in colors as Bach has done in music."
František Kupka
"Winter and summer, I follow my morning shower with gymnastics, which I practice nude in my garden.... It is ... a ritual that I perform as a prayer to the great fireworks of the rising sun."
František Kupka

"Colour is, both for the artist who uses it and for the spectator who perceives and assesses it, the vehicle of the impression... [Every color] provokes different sensations. Though with identical functions, each color makes itself known by a specific vibration."

František Kupka Signature

Synopsis

Kupka was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the first completely non-representational artists. Along with artists such as Mondrian and Kandinsky, his mature work formed the foundations for the development of modern art in the 20th century. Although many of his early pieces were figurative or contained realistic elements, he gradually evolved a purely abstract style, seeking to communicate ideas and beliefs without using recognizable imagery but instead conveying them through the use of line, form, and color alone. Whilst he was reluctant to be associated with any particular movement, Kupka worked closely with the Cubists and was instrumental in the development of Orphism, he also drew inspiration from the work of a wide range of other artists including those associated with Futurism and Fauvism.

Key Ideas

Self-educated, Kupka read extensively and was notably influenced by ideas relating to spiritualism, Buddhism and Theosophy. He incorporated religious symbolism into some of his early work and, later, used the philosophies associated with these religions to create his own belief system focused on revealing the unseen meaning hidden beneath the purely visual, a tenet that informed his move towards abstraction. He also investigated concepts relating to creation and the wider universe in his art.
In many pieces of his work, Kupka considered the essential nature of color and he was interested in how colors interacted with each other. He drew on both scientific research and spiritual beliefs to study the emotional and psychological effects they could have on the viewer, believing that properly composed color had the ability to allow people to enter a transcendental state.
The relationship between music and painting became increasingly important to Kupka throughout his career. He drew parallels between the processes of creating music and art, naming a number of his paintings after compositional techniques, particularly 'fugue'. He also utilized music to directly inspire his work, visualizing the rhythms and tones that he heard.

Biography

František Kupka Photo

Childhood

František Kupka, also known as Frank Kupka or François Kupka, was born in Eastern Bohemia in 1871, the oldest of five children of the notary Vaclav Kupka and his wife Josefa. For financial reasons, he left school and started work at the age of 13 for a saddle maker. This lack of formal schooling remained a source of humiliation for Kupka throughout his life and inspired him to engage in extensive self-education. Although he disliked his job, his first employer introduced him to spiritualism and he incorporated ideas relating to this into his early work. After a couple of years Kupka left this role and travelled around Bohemia earning money through sign painting. During this time he cemented his interests in philosophy, history and painting. Upon his return he enrolled in Jaromer Technical College where his work came to the attention of the Swedish artist Alois Strudnicka who started his formal artistic education and instructed him in drawing and the decorative arts.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
František Kupka Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
František Kupka
Interactive chart with František Kupka's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Frantisek Sequens
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Jacques VillonJacques Villon
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay

Personal Contacts

Jacques VillonJacques Villon
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Francis PicabiaFrancis Picabia
Jindrich Waldes

Movements

Art NouveauArt Nouveau
SymbolismSymbolism
CubismCubism
OrphismOrphism
FuturismFuturism

Influences on Artist
František Kupka
František Kupka
Years Worked: 1896 - 1957
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Francis PicabiaFrancis Picabia
Max BillMax Bill

Personal Contacts

Blaise CendrarsBlaise Cendrars
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Sonia DelaunaySonia Delaunay

Movements

OrphismOrphism
Abstraction
Concrete Art

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Pich-Chenda Sar

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Pich-Chenda Sar
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson
Available from:
[Accessed ]