The exhibition Stanislav Sucharda 1866–1916: A Creative Process presents a major Czech sculptor of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, whose multifarious work combines an interplay between the region and the country’s capital, the transformation from 19th-century traditions to modernism and the gradual local acceptance of progressive European styles.
Sucharda’s life and work are divided into thematic units dedicated to the formative milieu of his family’s workshop in Nová Paka, his creative beginnings, his chairmanship of the Mánes art group, architectural sculpture and portraiture, monumental sculpture, sepulchre art and medal making. Together, these areas reveal the development of the artist’s formal expression ranging from early Myslbek-style realism to Rodinesque impression and genuinely modern expression. Sucharda made an essential contribution to the development of the modern Czech art of medal making and was awarded a number of international prizes for his plaques. Keen activism in the Sokol gymnastics movement boosted his fascination with the idealized world of Slavonic paganism as well as the birth of his original iconographic repertoire and highly unconventional designs of sculpture monuments.
This first comprehensive presentation of Sucharda’s mostly unknown work is the outcome of the joint project Footprints of Work: The Legacy of Great Sculptors of the First Half of the 20th Century. The Restoration and Care of Plaster Sculptures (NAKI, DG16P02B052) carried out by the Faculty of Restoration of Pardubice University and the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, which researched Sucharda’s unique estate. The newly restored plaster models, drawing studies and rich photographic documentation enable an examination of his creative process from spontaneous author sketches to often de-personalized translations into a final work.