(12. 2. 1910 - 19. 6. 1990)

Jindřich Chalupecký is a leading figure of Czech art theory in the 20th century. Although he was not allowed to publish for a major part of his life, he has influenced a whole range of artists as well as his younger colleagues. He claimed that artists have to be defended all the time.

Chalupecký studied at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University; however, he never finished his studies. Initially dealing primarily with literary criticism, he made his debut already in 1930 in the Samostatnost (Independence) weekly. He was the spokesman of the famous art group Skupina 42 (Group 42); in the post-war years, he was chief editor of the magazine Listy pro umění a filosofii (Papers for Art and Literature). In the 1950s, he worked in the Institute of Housing and Clothing Culture. In the 1960s, he became the chief curator of Václav Špála Gallery, organizing innovative Czech as well as international exhibitions, e.g. that of Marcel Duchamp.

He made his book debut in 1944 by his study Smysl moderního umění (The Sense of Modern Art). In the 1960s, he published his book Umění dnes (Art Today), his later reflections were only published in samizdat or in international magazines. His essential works were published only in the 1990s in the anthology Cestou necestou (Down the Dirt Road); further publications include the books Tíha doby (The Pressure of the Times), Duchampovské meditace (Duchampian Meditations), Evropa a umění (Europe and Art) etc.

His timeless thinking was ahead of his time. Chalupecký reflected on art that can lack the attributes of what is still considered art by the society.  He was open to all new forms; keeping in touch with international artists, he was aware of the global context. Before his death in the spring of 1990, he consented to an award for young artists up to the age of 35, founded by artists Theodor Pištěk and Jiří Kolář and then president Václav Havel, bearing his name.


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