Emil Filla

1882 (Chropyne, Czechoslovakia) - 1953 (Praque)

Painter and Sculptor

Emil Filla was born in Chropyně on 4 April 1882. He studied at the Prague visual arts academy until 1906 and founded the artist group Osma ("Eight") in 1907. In 1909, became a member of Mánes, an association of visual artists. A painter, sculptor and graphic artist, his proximity to French Cubists such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso earned him the nickname Fillasso. He sojourned in Paris several times between 1910 and 1914. From 1910 to 1911, he was the editor of the art magazine Volné smery ("Free Directions"), which had close ties to Mánes. In February 1911, he and the Čapek brothers, Karel and Josef, left Mánes, co-founding the group Skupina výtarných umelcu ("Visual Artists’ Group"). Under the directorship of Josef Čapek, he published the Umelecký mesícnik ("Artistic Monthly") from October 1911 to early in 1914. In 1912, Emil Filla’s works were on show at the Sonderbund Exhibition in Cologne. In addition, he organized further exhibitions for the artists’ group in Prague, Munich and Berlin. Living in the Netherlands from 1914 to 1920, he published works of art theory. In 1920, he re-joined Mánes. The works of Emil Filla are influenced by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque but also by a Cubist exploration of works by El Greco and Baroque painting. In the 1930s, he took a stand against National Socialism in his work.

On 1 September 1939, Emil Filla was arrested and deported to Buchenwald. He worked in the genealogical detachment, for some time with Hugo Rokyta, and also made the acquaintance of Robert Bardfeld.

Following liberation, Emil Filla returned to Czechoslovakia and became a professor at the school of applied arts in Prague. He primarily painted landscapes and still lifes.

Emil Filla died in Prague on 7 October 1953.