Heading into Avant-Garde

'Woman with a Fan' by Emil Filla

Woman with a Fan (1917) by Emil FillaOlomouc Museum of Art

Emil Filla

Emil Filla, painter, graphic artist, draughtsman, sculptor and art theoretician, is one of the founding fathers of modern Czech art.

He was the initiator of the group The Eight (1907), member of the S. V. U. Mánes society (since 1909), and co-founder of the Group of Visual Artists (1911–1912).

His importance is mainly in his progressive and innovative thinking, which brought him to the head of the avant-garde.

One of the first Czech artists to adopt the Cubist method (in 1912–1913), he became its pioneer and promoter. The picture Woman with a Fan was made in the Netherlands, where Filla took refuge after the war came to France. 

The painting reveals the influence of the founders of Cubism, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, but also of Dutch still lifes and 17th-century landscape, which Filla studied.

The picture is marked by dramatic chiaroscuro and thoughtful treatment of the paint.

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