In 2008 the AMAM received an important donation of works by Czech artist František Kupka, from alumnus Frederic L. Pryor (Oberlin ’55). Kupka (1871-1957) is one of the most important Czech painters of the early 20th century. As a young artist in Prague and Vienna, he was influenced by the religious art of the German Romantic painters known as the Nazarenes. Later, his interest in Symbolism led him to experiment with color theory and abstraction in painting, a style he maintained for the rest of his career.
The large gift consists of 53 paintings, drawings, and prints by the artist, with subjects as varied as figural, historical and genre scenes, landscapes, studies of the female form, portraits, and abstract works. The works of art for which dates are known range from 1897-1952, covering almost all of Kupka's career. A wide range of media is represented, including oil, pastel, gouache, watercolor, ink, graphite, charcoal and crayon.
Also donated by Mr. Pryor were over 130 books and publications both by and about Kupka, including books illustrated by the artist, magazines with his drawings, and over twenty-five exhibition catalogues of Kupka’s works, as well as many books about Art Nouveau and Symbolism. These materials are being added to the collections of the Oberlin College Library. Such a variety of materials by and about Kupka makes the AMAM and Oberlin College a center of research for anyone studying this important early 20th century artist. We extend our sincere gratitude to Mr. Pryor for his generosity.