Skip to main content

Record-Breaking Czech Back Under the Hammer

Press release   •   Aug 26, 2019 11:39 UTC

Jan Krizek's works of art are rarely for sale, but now a whole collection of the artist's figures, paintings and drawings will be sold at auction at Bruun Rasmussen.

A remarkable collection of the Czech artist Jan Krizek's paintings and sculptures will be up for sale at the autumn’s Live Auction at Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen.

"It is rare for a work by Krizek to be up for auction, so to be able to present an entire collection is very exciting," says the Department Head and Specialist in Modern Art, Niels Raben, about the 15 works in total – figures, paintings and drawings.

”Jan Krizek exhibited in Paris together with the greatest artists and at the most well-known galleries back in the late 1940s and 1950s. You could compare him with contemporary artists such as Picasso, Miro and especially Jean Dubuffet. But then both he and his works vanished completely from the art scene from one day to the next. I know there is a Krizek hanging at the National Museum in Prague, but other than that, it had been rather quiet when it came to news about Krizek until three paintings were suddenly put up for sale in 2016,” says Raben.

Bruun Rasmussen was also responsible for this sale, which garnered a good deal of attention when a painting that had previously been sold for EUR 2,000 went for DKK 450,000 (EUR 60,000). The fifteen works that are set to go under the hammer at the autumn auction have been estimated at DKK 10,000 (EUR 1,300) for the cheapest and a quarter of a million Danish kroner for the most expensive.

About Jan Krizek

Jan Krizek (1919 - 1985) was born in Czechoslovakia, where his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague were abruptly ended when World War II broke out. Instead, Krizek began to teach himself a number of new disciplines – from religious art to molecular physics, architecture and anatomy. It was also during this period that Krizek began making sculptures, and since he had no money for materials, he used demolition stones and other materials he could find on construction sites. At the same time, he also continued to draw and paint.

He emigrated to Paris in 1948. Here, the core group of surrealists of the time noticed the Czech artist, and already the same year, the well-established and wealthy painter Jean Dubuffet organized Krizek’s first exhibition – in the Galerie Drouin. Dubuffet's enthusiasm for Krizek may have been due to the two artists' primitive-naive figurative artwork being very similar.

But Krizek had never been granted a residence permit in France, and so after a number of years, he and his wife were forced to flee from all the attention given to Krizek in Paris. He continued to draw, but it is known for certain that he destroyed several sculptures before he fled, and all evidence suggests that the escape from Paris meant a complete stop to his work as a sculptor.

The couple settled in the countryside of Corrèze, where Jan Krizek built a modest, small house and made his money as a beekeeper until his death.

.

Preview:12 September at 3-6pm, 13 September at 11am-5pm, 14 September at 11am-4pm, 15 September 11am-4pm, 16 September 11am-5pm at Bredgade 33, 1260 Copenhagen K.

Auction:17 September at 3pm at the same address.

.

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions, the daily online auctions and - the latest edition - direct auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.