1890 - 1939
Theme/Style – Modernism,
figurative works, landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, still lifes
Media – Oils, gouaches,
Artistic Focus – Equally
adept at oil and watercolor painting, Edouard Vysekal was one of Los
Angeles’s early proponents of Modernism. Skilled in the techniques
of figural and landscape painting as well as still lifes, Vysekal pushed
the boundaries of these traditional genres with his bold use of color
and contour, and was one of a small group of Southern California artists
who went even further to explore and extend the boundaries of Modernism.
Career Highlights –
• Edward Antonin Vysekal was born into a family
of artists in Kutna Hora, Czechoslovakia, in 1890, and studied art in
Prague before emigrating to join his father in St. Paul, Minnesota, at
the age of 17.
• Vysekal studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and exhibited there
in 1911 and 1912, as well as at Chicago’s Palette & Chisel Club.
As an instructor at the Institute from 1912 to 1914, Vysekal met Luvena
Buchanan, one of his students who he later would marry.
• When Luvena received a commission in 1914 to paint murals in the Hotel
Barbara Worth in the town of El Centro at the very southern tip of California,
Vysekal accompanied her. The Vysekals remained on the West Coast, established
a studio home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, and continued to
pursue their painting careers.
• Starting in 1916, Vysekal’s works were included in exhibitions at the
Daniell Gallery, the Friday Morning Club, the California Art Club, and
the Los Angeles Museum.
• At Los Angeles’s Art Students League in 1918, Vysekal joined a small
group of artists led by Stanton Macdonald Wright. Edouard Vysekal and
Nicholas Brigante were two of Wright’s first students, and both began
painting Modernist watercolors, though these works were initially unpopular
with critics in a still-conservative Los Angeles.
• By the 1920s Vysekal was teaching at the Art Students League and exhibiting
with a group of local Modernists called the Group of Eight, which included
Mabel Alvarez, Vysekal and his wife Luvena, Donna Schuster and Clarence
Hinkle; and in 1921 Vysekal’s work was included in the first California
Water Color Society exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of History,
Science and Art.
• Through the 1920s and 1930s, Vysekal exhibited widely, with a solo
show at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art in 1921, a show there with
Mabel Alvarez in 1927, and another with Boris Deutsch in 1929. He also
exhibited with Los Angeles’s Modern Art Workers, The Los Angeles Art
Association, Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles, the California
Water Color Society, the Laguna Beach Art Association, and the Oakland
Art Gallery in Oakland, California, among many others.
• Edouard Vysekal taught life drawing and painting at the Otis Art Institute
for 17 years, until 1939 when he died in Los Angeles at age 49. A second
solo exhibition of Vysekal’s paintings was held posthumously at the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art in 1940.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic
references are available upon request.
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