Josef Sudek

Czechoslovakian, 1896—1976

About

Josef Sudek

Czechoslovakian, 1896—1976


One of the best-known Czechoslovakian photographers of the 20th century, Josef Sudek worked in Prague for his entire life. He trained as a bookbinder, but following the loss of his right hand during World War I, took up photography as a profession. He later studied photography at the State School of Graphic Art from1922 to 1924, and with Jaromír Funke, co-founded the avant-garde Czech Society of Photography. Sudek started his own photographic business in 1928, producing commercial work, portraits, poetic landscapes, and street-scenes of Prague, including a series shot from his studio window. Sudek was influenced by the concerns of Impressionism, Pictorialism, and Czech Poetism, but throughout his life, remained faithful to his own stylistic and emotional proclivities of introspection. Josef Sudek lived in seclusion from the beginning of World War II on, and produced a remarkable body of personal, brooding black and white still lifes that uniquely express light and reflection. From the 1930s on, Sudek’s photographs have been exhibited widely, and his work featured in retrospectives at George Eastman House, Rochester (1974), the International Center of Photography, New York (1977), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1990). In 1961 he became the first artist to receive the “Artist of Merit” award from the Czech government.