Czech artist Otto Gutfreund ranks amongst the most radical sculptors of the first half of the 20th century who was capable of transforming the traditional realistic form in a rather revolutionary way. Gutfreund graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and, under the influence of the 1905 exhibition of Bourdelle’s sculptures in Prague, left for Paris and successfully studied with his role-model for several years. In Paris, he also met with the significant personality of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin. Upon Guttfreund’s return to Bohemia, his oeuvre begins to display an apparent transition from Expressionism to Cubism, which turned the artist into the leading representative of the latter in Czech sculpture. Gutfreund was moreover well-known on the world art scene; he was a personal friend to Picasso and his collector, Kahnweiler. The Czech Gutfreunds’ parallel of the consistent employment of Cubist principles was painter Emil Filla. During the First World War, Gufreund served in the Foreign Legion and was later interned. His countless testimonies in the form of drawings originate from this period of incarceration. After the war, Gutfreund returned to Prague, was appointed the Professor at the local Academy of Fine Arts and became a member of the Mánes Association of Fine Artists. In this period and afterwards, he rather followed the lines of Social Civilism and, amongst other works, created the massive monument of The Grandmother – the main figure from the 19th-century novel by Božena Němcová – which still can be found in the Ratibořice Valley. Towards the end of his artistic career, Gutfreund again returned to Cubism. He also wrote numerous studies presenting his ideas on the field of sculpture.
* 1889, Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Czech republic