Exhibitions

Drawings: Vaclav Vytlacil

Drawings: Vaclav Vytlacil

Never-before-seen drawings and works on paper discovered at Vytlacil’s Sparkill estate.  

Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, 2nd floor
July 15 – August 18, 2021
Monday-Friday 10 am – 6 pm

The Art Students League of New York is pleased to present Drawings: Vaclav Vytlacil, featuring 80 never-before-seen drawings by Vavlav Vytlacil (1892–1984) on view July 15–August 18, 2021. The exhibition includes works spanning over five decades and provides insight into Vytlacil’s obsessive drawing practice, tracing his evolution from early figurative works and landscapes to abstraction. Drawn from the League’s permanent collection, the exhibition marks the first time the works have been available for display to the general public since they were donated by the artist’s estate following his death in 1984.

Vaclav Vytlacil and students at The Art Students League, 1977

The association between Vytlacil and The Art Students League began in 1913, when at the age of twenty, Vytlacil won a scholarship to study at The League. His chosen instructor was John C. Johansen, who worked and taught in the style of John Singer Sargent. From the very beginning of his career, Vytlacil used drawing as a repetitive action to get close to his subject. After studying at The League for three years, Vytlacil left to accept a teaching position at the Minneapolis School of Art.

In 1928, he returned to The League as an instructor after studying and working with Hans Hofmann while living in Europe. He  was greatly influenced by Cubism and gave a series of controversial lectures on the subject at the League. Protests by prominent League Instructors, like Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh and Kenneth Hayes Miller, left Vytlacil disappointed and he returned to Paris in 1929 for six years, surrounded by the influence of Picasso, Matisse and Dufy.

In 1935, Vytlacil returned to New York and The Art Students League once again, becoming one of The League’s most influential instructors over the course of the next 41

Vaclav Vytlacil, Untitled, 1921

years. In 1936, he took part in the founding of the American Abstract Artists group, and his career writ large has had a profound influence on modern American art. In addition to The League, Vytlacil taught at Columbia University, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Boston College, and was lecturer in Berkeley, CA.  His students included Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Mavis Pusey, James Rosenquist, Tony Smith, Joseph Stapleton, and Cy Twombly,  as well as later League instructors Knox Martin and Frank O’Cain.

In 1995, eleven years after his death, his former home in Sparkill and his art works were donated to the The Art Students League. These drawings give an insight into Vytlacil’s almost obsessive drawing practice and shows how the early figurative works and landscapes slowly evolved into abstraction, a transformation which is closely linked with the popularization of abstraction in American art in general during the mid-to-late 20th Century. This exhibition marks the first time these works have been available for display to the general public. Vytlacil’s works can be found in renowned institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

During the summer of 1951, Vytlacil was the headlining instructor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The Colorado landscape became a recurring subject, as seen in the exhibition alongside landscapes that were likely painted at Martha’s Vineyard in and around 1962.  Vytlacil’s energetic and repetitive drawing technique resulted in the production of hundreds of drawings, some in charcoal, others with oil sticks and gouache incorporated into the piece. The Feigl Gallery, on Madison Avenue, mounted an exhibition of Vytlacil’s work, Rocky Mountains: Recent Oils and Gouaches, in March 1952, which was reviewed in Arts magazine. The reviewer, identified only by the initials, D.A., extolled the work: “To seize the spirit of the mountains and translate it into painting has been an end rarely achieved in Western art. In his series of paintings inspired by the Rocky Mountains, Vytlacil proves to be one of the few American painters who can successfully achieve that end.”

Vaclav Vytlacil, Untitled, ca 1970, mixed media on paper

The other main group of works in the exhibition consists of abstract drawings from the early 1970s, made with oil stick, and gouache, and a smaller series called “Fishermen”. Another set of early studies was created from Old Master paintings in the German museums of Dresden, Berlin, and Munich  during the autumn of 1921 when Vytlacil was 28 years old. In these works, the artist gets to know the subject by drawing it again and again with varied mark-making, materials, and expression. Some of these figurative works are explored later in Vytlacil’s more abstract imagery.  In a publication for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art, Virginia L. Mecklenburg wrote of Vytlacil, “His work in the 1940s and 1950s went through a transition away from the structure of form and a new fascination with how to render the energy of his subjects. Whether it was landscape, still life, or human figure, Vytlacil’s work at this point took on what some might call an element of spontaneity.”

1. Vaclav Vytlacil

1. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

2. Vaclav Vytlacil

2. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 (after Aristide Maillol’s Leda) Charcoal on paper, 10 x 13 in.

3. Vaclav Vytlacil

3. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal on paper, 10 x 13 in.

4. Vaclav Vytlacil

4. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-62 Charcoal on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

5. Vaclav Vytlacil

5. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-62 Charcoal on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

6. Vaclav Vytlacil

6. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-62 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

7. Vaclav Vytlacil

7. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 ¼ x 14 ¾ in.

8. Vaclav Vytlacil

8. Vaclav Vytlacil

Fishermen, ca. 1960 Oil pastel on paper, 7 x 8 ¼ in.

9. Vaclav Vytlacil

9. Vaclav Vytlacil

Fishermen, ca. 1960 Oil pastel on paper, 7 x 8 ¼ in.

10. Vaclav Vytlacil

10. Vaclav Vytlacil

Fishermen, ca. 1960 Oil pastel on paper, 7 x 8 ¼ in.

11. Vaclav Vytlacil

11. Vaclav Vytlacil

Fishermen, ca. 1960 Oil pastel on paper, 7 x 8 ¼ in.

12. Vaclav Vytlacil

12. Vaclav Vytlacil

Fishermen, ca. 1960 Oil pastel on paper, 8 ¼ x 7 in.

13. Vaclav Vytlacil

13. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 6 x 9 in.

14. Vaclav Vytlacil

14. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 6 x 9 in.

15. Vaclav Vytlacil

15. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 6 x 9 in.

16. Vaclav Vytlacil

16. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, (after carving by Tilman Riemenschneider) 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

17. Vaclav Vytlacil

17. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled (after The Prodigal Son in the Brothel by Rembrandt), 1921 Charcoal and red chalk on paper, 13 x 10 in.

18. Vaclav Vytlacil

18. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled (after Don Gaspar de Guzmán by Workshop of Velazquez), 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

19. Vaclav Vytlacil

19. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 16 x 11 in.

20. Vaclav Vytlacil

20. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Graphite on paper, 12 ¼ x 9 in.

21. Vaclav Vytlacil

21. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 (after Hans Holbein’s Double Portrait of Sir Thomas Godsalve and his son John) Graphite on paper, 12 ¼ x 9 in.

22. Vaclav Vytlacil

22. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

23. Vaclav Vytlacil

23. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

24. Vaclav Vytlacil

24. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 16 ¾ x 14 in.

25. Vaclav Vytlacil

25. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 16 ¾ x 14 in.

26. Vaclav Vytlacil

26. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 16 ¾ x 14 in.

27. Vaclav Vytlacil

27. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

28. Vaclav Vytlacil

28. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal and red chalk on paper, 13 x 10 in.

29. Vaclav Vytlacil

29. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

30. Vaclav Vytlacil

30. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

31. Vaclav Vytlacil

31. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

32. Vaclav Vytlacil

32. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, gouache and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

33. Vaclav Vytlacil

33. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, gouache and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

34. Vaclav Vytlacil

34. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, gouache and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

35. Vaclav Vytlacil

35. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, gouache and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

36.Vaclav Vytlacil

36.Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, gouache and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

37. Vaclav Vytlacil

37. Vaclav Vytlacil

Rooster, ca. 1963 Ink and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 9 in.

38. Vaclav Vytlacil

38. Vaclav Vytlacil

Rooster, ca. 1963 Ink and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 9 in.

39. Vaclav Vytlacil

39. Vaclav Vytlacil

Rooster, ca. 1963 Ink and oil pastel on paper, 12 x 9 in.

40. Vaclav Vytlacil

40. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1962 Oil pastel on paper, 9 x 11 in.

41. Vaclav Vytlacil

41. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1962 Oil pastel on paper, 6 ¾ x 8 ¼ in.

42. Vaclav Vytlacil

42. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 17 x 14 in.

43. Vaclav Vytlacil

43. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

44. Vaclav Vytlacil

44. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 13 ¾ x 10 in.

45. Vaclav Vytlacil

45. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink on paper, 16 ¾ x 13 ¾ in.

46. Vaclav Vytlacil

46. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled (after Portrait of a Bearded Man by Rembrandt), 1921 Charcoal on paper, 13 x 10 in.

47. Vaclav Vytlacil

47. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and ink on paper, 15 x 12 in.

48. Vaclav Vytlacil

48. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and ink on paper, 15 x 12 in.

49. Vaclav Vytlacil

49. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and ink on paper, 9 ¾ x 12 ½ in.

50. Vaclav Vytlacil

50. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and ink on paper, 9 ¾ x 12 ½ in.

51. Vaclav Vytlacil

51. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal, ink and gouache on paper, 9 ¾ x 12 ½ in.

52. Vaclav Vytlacil

52. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 9 ½ x 10 in.

53. Vaclav Vytlacil

53. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Charcoal on paper, 12x 15 in.

54. Vaclav Vytlacil

54. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 4 ½ x 9 in.

55. Vaclav Vytlacil

55. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 3 ¾ x 10 in.

56. Vaclav Vytlacil

56. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 5 x 5 ½ in.

57. Vaclav Vytlacil

57. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

58. Vaclav Vytlacil

58. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

59. Vaclav Vytlacil

59. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and ink on paper, 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ in.

60. Vaclav Vytlacil

60. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

61. Vaclav Vytlacil

61. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 12 x 15 in.

62. Vaclav Vytlacil

62. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1962 Oil pastel on paper, 9 x 11 in.

63. Vaclav Vytlacil

63. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 9 x 13 ½ in.

64. Vaclav Vytlacil

64. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 10 x 13 ½ in.

65. Vaclav Vytlacil

65. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

66. Vaclav Vytlacil

66. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

67. Vaclav Vytlacil

67. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 ½ x 9 ½ in.

68. Vaclav Vytlacil

68. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 ½ x 9 ½ in.

69. Vaclav Vytlacil

69. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 3 ¼ x 9 ½ in.

70. Vaclav Vytlacil

70. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink and oil pastel on paper, 5 x 13 ¼ in.

71. Vaclav Vytlacil

71. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink and oil pastel on paper, 8 ½ x 13 in.

72. Vaclav Vytlacil

72. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Ink and collage on paper, 10 ¾ x 15 ½ in.

73. Vaclav Vytlacil

73. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 9 ¾ x 7 ¾ in.

74. Vaclav Vytlacil

74. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ in.

75. Vaclav Vytlacil

75. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 10 ½ x 14 in.

76. Vaclav Vytlacil

76. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 10 ½ x 14 in.

77. Vaclav Vytlacil

77. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 10 ½ x 14 in.

78. Vaclav Vytlacil

78. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

79. Vaclav Vytlacil

79. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

80. Vaclav Vytlacil

80. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

81. Vaclav Vytlacil

81. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

82. Vaclav Vytlacil

82. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

83. Vaclav Vytlacil

83. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

84. Vaclav Vytlacil

84. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

85. Vaclav Vytlacil

85. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

86. Vaclav Vytlacil

86. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled (after Chickens, Colorful Realms of Beings by Jakuchu Ito), ca. 1963 Gouache on paper, 14 x 10 in.

87. Vaclav Vytlacil

87. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1963, Mexico Ink and gouache on paper, 8 x 4 ½ in. ea.

88. Vaclav Vytlacil

88. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

89. Vaclav Vytlacil

89. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1957-1962 Charcoal and gouache on paper, 12 x 14 ¾ in.

90. Vaclav Vytlacil

90. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ in.

91. Vaclav Vytlacil

91. Vaclav Vytlacil

Untitled, ca. 1970 Oil pastel on paper, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ in.

1. Vaclav Vytlacil 2. Vaclav Vytlacil 3. Vaclav Vytlacil 4. Vaclav Vytlacil 5. Vaclav Vytlacil 6. Vaclav Vytlacil 7. Vaclav Vytlacil 8. Vaclav Vytlacil 9. Vaclav Vytlacil 10. Vaclav Vytlacil 11. Vaclav Vytlacil 12. Vaclav Vytlacil 13. Vaclav Vytlacil 14. Vaclav Vytlacil 15. Vaclav Vytlacil 16. Vaclav Vytlacil 17. Vaclav Vytlacil 18. Vaclav Vytlacil 19. Vaclav Vytlacil 20. Vaclav Vytlacil 21. Vaclav Vytlacil 22. Vaclav Vytlacil 23. Vaclav Vytlacil 24. Vaclav Vytlacil 25. Vaclav Vytlacil 26. Vaclav Vytlacil 27. Vaclav Vytlacil 28. Vaclav Vytlacil 29. Vaclav Vytlacil 30. Vaclav Vytlacil 31. Vaclav Vytlacil 32. Vaclav Vytlacil 33. Vaclav Vytlacil 34. Vaclav Vytlacil 35. Vaclav Vytlacil 36.Vaclav Vytlacil 37. Vaclav Vytlacil 38. Vaclav Vytlacil 39. Vaclav Vytlacil 40. Vaclav Vytlacil 41. Vaclav Vytlacil 42. Vaclav Vytlacil 43. Vaclav Vytlacil 44. Vaclav Vytlacil 45. Vaclav Vytlacil 46. Vaclav Vytlacil 47. Vaclav Vytlacil 48. Vaclav Vytlacil 49. Vaclav Vytlacil 50. Vaclav Vytlacil 51. Vaclav Vytlacil 52. Vaclav Vytlacil 53. Vaclav Vytlacil 54. Vaclav Vytlacil 55. Vaclav Vytlacil 56. Vaclav Vytlacil 57. Vaclav Vytlacil 58. Vaclav Vytlacil 59. Vaclav Vytlacil 60. Vaclav Vytlacil 61. Vaclav Vytlacil 62. Vaclav Vytlacil 63. Vaclav Vytlacil 64. Vaclav Vytlacil 65. Vaclav Vytlacil 66. Vaclav Vytlacil 67. Vaclav Vytlacil 68. Vaclav Vytlacil 69. Vaclav Vytlacil 70. Vaclav Vytlacil 71. Vaclav Vytlacil 72. Vaclav Vytlacil 73. Vaclav Vytlacil 74. Vaclav Vytlacil 75. Vaclav Vytlacil 76. Vaclav Vytlacil 77. Vaclav Vytlacil 78. Vaclav Vytlacil 79. Vaclav Vytlacil 80. Vaclav Vytlacil 81. Vaclav Vytlacil 82. Vaclav Vytlacil 83. Vaclav Vytlacil 84. Vaclav Vytlacil 85. Vaclav Vytlacil 86. Vaclav Vytlacil 87. Vaclav Vytlacil 88. Vaclav Vytlacil 89. Vaclav Vytlacil 90. Vaclav Vytlacil 91. Vaclav Vytlacil

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