František Drtikol (1883-1961) is, in addition to Josef Sudek, the most famous figure in the history of Czech photography in the world, the creator of important portraits and nudes.
Representation in collections: His work can be found all over the world - it is part of the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), the R. Kicken Gallery (Cologne), the Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), the Jacques Baruch Gallery (Chicago, Illinois), Musée National d´Art Moderne (Paris), Museum Bochum (Bochum, Germany), Museum Ludwig (Köln), R. Koch Gallery (San Francisco, California), Sammlung Fotografia Bank Austria (Wien), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo) and many more. In our country, it is, for example, the Gallery of the Capital City of Prague, the Moravian Gallery in Brno and, above all, the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague, whose collection of drtikol photographs is the largest in the world.
František Drtikol (1883-1961) came from the family of the owner of a general store. After 4 years of study at the grammar school, he studied photography with A. Mattas in Příbram from 1898 to 1901. In 1901-03 he studied as the first Czech photographer at the Teaching and Research Institute for Photography in Munich. He then worked in various studios in Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and after returning from three years of military service, he opened the "Studio for Modern Photography" in 1907 (Wenceslas Square No. 144). During his work in Příbram, in addition to portraits, a landscape study and a set from Příbram's silver mines were created, partly published on postcards. Acts were also created.
His photographic work in Prague probably began in 1910 in a residential studio in U kolkovny Street, no. 5. At the beginning of 1912, he opened a photo studio in a new building on the corner of 730 Vodičkova and Jungmannova streets.
Together with Augustin Škarda, they were signed on a set of 50 oil prints From the Courts and Courts of Old Prague, which carried the current theme of the disappearance of the old character of Prague. With a sense of psychology, artistic sophistication and craftsmanship, Drtikol portrayed many important personalities in the studio, and ordinary portrait commissions were also of a good standard, on which he collaborated with his assistants.
The basis of his fame became a photographic act, in the concept of which we find three significant periods. In the first, he applied abundantly to the negatives, painted the background and was dominated by noble prints. Women took the form of both dreamy fairies of symbolism with a joyful experience of life and eroticism, and of fateful women, in which the symbolism of sex and death was mixed. During the war, the company was under Škard's influence, as Drtikol was deployed to the front. In 1921, Drtikol and his companion broke up. In their second period of nude creation, painted backgrounds were replaced by the division of the surface in the form of shadows and decorations of geometric shapes, melancholic dreamy models were replaced by dancers, dynamics and actions, noble prints gradually gave way to pure bromosilver photographs. The change was influenced by coexistence with the dancer Ervin Kupferová and contemporary art currents. In his third creative period of nudes, beginning around 1930, he was no longer satisfied with the direct depiction of the human body and began to help himself with cut-out and carved figures, which he placed in various environments and contexts. Drtikol also turned to him when, in 1935, he completely abandoned photographs and devoted himself to painting and meditation. He died essentially forgotten.