Still Life with Shells and Classical Head
35.5" x 27.5"
Framed: 45.12" x 37.37"
Painting, Oil on canvas
Signed lower left
Estate stamped verso
Matulka's enigmatic still lifes of the 1930 show a clear interest in Surrealism. De Chirico and his associates in the Scuola Metaficica are the most likely model for these works. The seemingly unrelated objects, incongruously brought together, may be read as an international representation of poetic symbolism and metaphysical solitude.

About the Artist
(1890 - 1972)
Jan Matulka was born in 1890 in a small town southwest of Prague, in what later became Czechoslovakia. In 1905 he took his first art classes in Prague, and two years later his family emigrated to the United States, settling in the Bronx, New York.

He then began taking classes at the National Academy of Design, continuing there through 1917. After he finished his training, he moved into a studio apartment in Manhattan and met Lida Jirouskova, whom he married in 1918. Throughout this time he traveled quite extensively, visiting the southwest United States, Czechoslovakia, Paris, and Prague. In 1917 he lived in New Mexico, where he adopted a cubist style and painted some the earliest modernist works in the Southwest. In addition, he also painted directly from life, recording ceremonial scenes and daily life in the Pueblos.

In 1926 Katherine Dreier arranged his first important one-man exhibition at The Art Center, 65 East 56th Street in New York. However their relationship soon began to sour due to disagreements between the two.

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