Josef Capek (1887 - 1945) was born in Hronov, Bohemia (Austria-Hungary, later Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic). He studied at the Academy of Art in his hometown of Prague before setting out to Paris in 1910. During his one year stay in the French capital, Capek encountered the newly-invented style of Cubism. First a painter of the Cubist school, he later developed his own playful, minimalist style. He collaborated with his brother Karel on a number of plays and short stories; on his own, he wrote the utopian play Land of Many Names and several novels, as well as critical essays in which he argued for the art of the unconscious, of children, and of 'savages'. He was named by his brother as the true inventor of the term robot.
Upon his return to Prague in 1911, Capek became a leader of Czech Cubism. In 1917 Capek received acclaim following the publication of the issue of the progressive Berliner magazine Die Aktion devoted to him. One year later he found himself amongst the founding members of the group Tvrdosijni.
Due to his critical attitude towards national socialism and Adolf Hitler, he was arrested after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939.
He wrote Poems from a Concentration Camp in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where he died in 1945.
His high reported price has been over $900,000.00.
This particular artwork reminds me of Capek's 1913 rendition of the Accordian Player. (There is a later "Accordian Player" that he created in 1918, that I personally do not like as much.
Artist: Attributed to: Josef Capek (1887-1945)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Title: "Untitled Sketch".
Size: 7 1/2 by 5 5/8 inches.
Signed lower right.
Condition: Toning, staining and foxing from age.