Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957): 23 September as his Birthday Memorial


 Also one of the Abstract movement pioneers, Czech painter Frantisek Kupka was born today in 1871. He was interested in occult and mystical subjects since he was a kid and he was known to be a medium in this concept. He started his artistic career  in Paris as an illustrator in 1890 and he started spiritual illustrations about 1898. He continued this style until 1909, when his first abstract works were created. 

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His personal illustrations which are based on his spiritual tendencies reveal facts about the source his belief rooted in. The fact that Kupka like other Abstract Art pioneers Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich was influenced by Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophy and had some interests in Hermeticism (also like Serusier and Nabis), is not a matter of discuss any more, but some of his works make us think over what he might have been into. 

frantisek Kupka- babylon 1906
Frantisek Kupka, Babylon (1906)

I’d like to end this post with a part of Pam Meecham and Julie Sheldon’s book MODERN ART: A Critical Introduction:

“Kupka’s interest in spiritualism meant that he believed himself capable of splitting his consciousness during seances and observing the world from ‘outside’. Years before the first photographs of the earth from space, Kupka was painting what he believed to be ‘vision’ of the cosmos. Although Kupka never claimed that his ‘inner vision’ were any more that fragments which ‘floats in our heads’, he believed that his clairvoyant vision lent him a transcendence which enabled him to survey the cosmos.” (Meecham and Sheldon, 2000: 68)

Frantisek Kupka, The First Step (1909)

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