Tag Archives: Autumn by František Michl

#FineArtFriday: Autumn by František Michl 1949


Artist: František Michl

Title:  Autumn, 1949.

Medium: oil on canavas (private collection)


What I love about this painting:

This is a powerful, moody piece. It conveys the chill and dampness of a day in late autumn, contrasted against the brilliant blue of the skies between rain squalls. Some trees cling to their leaves, defying the cold breeze while others are bare, mingled among the tall evergreens. The grass is brown, and a solitary hiker takes advantage of the sunshine, making their way over the ridge in solitary peace.

One feels that soon this hillside will be covered with snow.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

[1] František Michl (20 November 1901, – 4 June 1977), Czech academic painter, graphic artist, and original designer of the Škoda Works emblem, the “Winged Arrow”. He was imprisoned in Pankrac Prison, and the concentration camps Terezin and Flossenbürg after his arrest by Nazis for an anti-fascist demonstration at Domažlice. After the war he was arrested in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic for listening to the anticommunist Radio Liberty.

Michl, being a free-minded and anticommunist spirit, was imprisoned in Plzeň Prison in 1961. The trial was based on the accusation that Michl listened to Radio Liberty, which was considered by the totalitarian regime as treason. His name was blacklisted and his family persecuted.

The diminished political pressure in 1967 opened new prospects for Michl’s art in Czechoslovakia and abroad. In March 1968 his paintings were exhibited in Montreal. The Rullos Gallery in New York bought 165 paintings in November 1968. Unfortunately, preparation of Michl’s exhibition in the London National Gallery was interrupted by the Soviet invasion in August 1968.

The time of normalization brought back the ban on Michl’s name. Michl was not allowed to publicly display his art (though several illegal exhibitions, organized by his friends, took place, camouflaged under fake titles, for example “Successes of building socialism”). After his first brain stroke in 1972, which left half of his body paralyzed, Michl kept painting. It was only after his sixth stroke that Michl remained permanently bedridden until his death on June 4, 1977.

In 1991, František Michl’s name was fully politically rehabilitated, and his contribution to the anti-fascist and anticommunist resistance was recognized. Michl’s work, however, is still awaiting public recognition. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:1949-stromy.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:1949-stromy.jpg&oldid=423191687 (accessed August 13, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “František Michl,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Franti%C5%A1ek_Michl&oldid=1002262176 (accessed August 13, 2021).


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