The poet and artist Jiří Kolář (1914-2002) and his wife Běla, an artist and photographer, were among the most important Czech post-war artists. There were prominent figures on the Czechoslovak art scene, and despite the totalitarian regime they were very knowledgeable about art in this country and abroad. Kolář’s table at the Café Slavia was an important meeting place, and artists and critics from all over the country wrote to him and visited him. Jiří Kolář actively maintained this network and he supported many young artists, for instance by collecting their works or exchanging his own art for them. This resulted in a large collection assembled over several decades, and it reflects Kolář’s interest in art that presented unusual perspectives on the modern world, covering many different genres and approaches. The collection reflects his receptivity to the most varied forms of expression, and his ability to trace new connections.
The collection is divided into several parts. The first part has works by famous Czech modern artists such as Josef Václav Myslbek, Luděk Marold, Josef Mařatka and Alfons Mucha. The collection also includes noted avant-garde artists from the first half of the 20th century, with a series of remarkable abstract paintings by František Kupka, innovative collages by Vojtěch Preissig, a series of prints by Josef Čapek, and works by František Tichý, Václav Tikal, Václav Špála and Alois Wachsman.