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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frantisek Drtikol

Dates:  1883, 3 March - 1961, 13 January
Born:  Bohemia, Pribram
Died:  Czechoslovakia, Prague
Active:  Czechoslovakia
Bohemian photographer.

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Visual indexes

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Supplemental information

Born in 1883 in Pribram, Czechoslovakia, Drtikol died in Prague in 1961. He served as an apprentice at a portrait studio in Pribram before attending (1901-1903) the Munich Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt fur Photographie, a teaching and research institute for photography in Munich. Here he worked under the tutelage of G. H. Emmerich and Hans Spurl. He was strongly influenced by Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau.
After his schooling, Drtikol returned to Czechoslovakia and earned his living as a photographer, working for various studios, then opened his own studio in Prague, where he specialized in portraits of writers and artists. He joined the Prague Cooperative Artel, lectured and continued to paint, making backdrops for his photographs. Eventually he devoted himself completely to his painting. He was an influential figure in the European Bauhaus movement.
Drtikol is most noted for his "uniquely modernistic imagery through the use of harsh lighting and strangely contorted forms and backdrops. His primary subject was the female nude" (Light Impressions). Most of these images were made between 1900 and 1935.
[Contributed by the Alan Klotz Gallery, October 2007] 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.151 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.154-155 
• Coke, Van Deren with Diana C. Du Pont 1986 Photography: A Facet of Modernism (New York: Hudson Hills Press, The San Francisco Museum of Art) p.172 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Frantisek Drtikol.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.246 
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