The house dating from 1911–12, designed for František Josef Herbst as a department store with a café on the first floor, is an example of how a modern building can sensitively be incorporated in the historical core of the Old Town. The fact that after the recent reconstruction its spaces have been assigned to the Museum of Czech Cubism owes to a brilliant decision by the Ministry of Culture. The exhibition was arranged by the National Gallery in Prague in collaboration with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and the National Museum.
The exhibition of Czech Cubism presented on the second and third floors of the Black Madonna House focuses on the years 1910–19, the most imporant stage of Cubism in the Czech lands. Painting is represented by the works of Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Vincenc Beneš, Josef Čapek, Antonín Procházka, Václav Špála, Jan Zrzavý, Otakar Nejedlý, and Otakar Kubín, while sculpture is the domain of Otto Gutfreund. The collection of paintings and sculptures was chosen from the holdings of the National Gallery in Prague and supplemented by a number of loans from galleries outside Prague and from private collectors. The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague loaned the various pieces of furniture made from designs of the architects Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár and Vlastislav Hofman. Their architectural works, along with documents of Josef Chochol’s works, are shown in a number of photos and two models: Gočár’s Black Madonna House and Chochol’s tenement house in Neklanova St. in Prague. It is the Czech Cubist architecture dating from the years before World War I that is quite unique and cannot be found anywhere else in Europe. Samples of applied art were also loaned by the Museum of Decorative Arts. The exhibited ceramic items were executed from the designs by Pavel Janák, Vlastislav Hofman and Jaroslav Horejc, while the glass was designed by Josef Rosipal and posters present the works of Jaroslav Benda, V. H. Brunner and Václav Špála.
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