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1945) and Otto Gutfreund (1889-1927). Abstract painting in this period was led by Vojtěch
Preissig (1873-1944) and František Foltýn (1891-1976) and the group most assocaiated with
Surrealism was the Ra Group led by Jindřich Štyrský (1899-1942) and Toyen (1902-1980). The
post war years gave birth to a generation influenced by the Avant-garde. Three distinct groups
formed during this period, Skupina 42, Skupina Ra and Sedm v říjnu (Seven in October), which
included internationally renowned artists such as Václav Hejna, Josef Liesler and František
Jirousek. Two contemporary artists who continue in the spirit of Postmodernism include David
Černý (1967) and Jaroslav Rona (1957).
France
Early 20th century France saw experimentation which would greatly impact on the world arts
scene. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists had unleashed a plethora of
experimentation and restlessness throughout the French arts scene. Fauvism, headed by Henri
Matisse was a short lived development of the Impressionist movement which favoured the
painterly qualities rather than the representative values of a painting. Meanwhile there were new
influences entering the arts scene from closer contact with the Far East and Africa,
demonstrated in work such as Pablo Picasso’s Demoiselles d'Avignon of 1907. The first strong
movement to arise from such experimentation was Cubism pioneered by Pablo Picasso and
Georges Braque, a style which remained highly influential early in the century in France.
Cubism taught the deconstruction, analysis and reconstruction of objects as well as exploring
an object from many perspectives. During the war years it was Dadaism that was wildly
embraced by artists already captivated with the works of Sigmund Freud. Conceptual
experimentation turned to an exploration of the subconscious and the mind, as well as the
physical exploration of new techniques such as collage and decalcomania. Dreamscapes were
produced as Surrealism swept across the French arts scene. Experimentation continued in
France after the war and areas such as Tachism, Fluxus and New Realism were investigated,
but the dominance of France on the world art scene diminished as The United States in
particular began to take a more pivotal role.
Henri Matisse
Blue nude
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