Kupka - Svoboda

Black & white lithograph and drawing ink on paper (around 1900), 42×77 cm, 74×105 cm (including frame), ink signature in the left lower corner.
Origin: Antiquariat Paris.

Exhibited at the French Institute Praha, 14.9.-3.11.2016.

The highest price achieved in auction – 56 million CZK in the year 2012, Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery, Prague.
The highest price achieved in auction for graphics – 8 thousand USD, Sotheby’s New York.
The highest known price for graphics achieved in gallery sale – 500 thousand CZK in the year 2016, Prague.

At the turn of the century, Kupka was committed to express himself by his work to topical social and political problems. He contributed by his illustrations not only to anarchistic magazine L´Assiete au Beurre – L´Agent , which was part of satirical revue Belle Epoque and to English was being translated as Pork barrel, but also to number of other magazines – Cocorico for instance, likewise he designed various posters. He sympathized with poor, humiliated, exploited people – people from the margins of society. After all, Kupka himself was after his arrival to Paris, at the end of 19th century, quite often starving and doubted his future in the Art.
This lithograph presents manorial carriage drawn by slaves, which mercilessly strikes down both ill old people and women with children. On the carriage, three men are standing, symbolizing the tools by which society is controlled: law, faith and the power of money. The carriage symbolizes paradoxical situation which promises prosperity for slavery – this is why instead of horses people are serving. At the front of the carriage an official stands having the coat with many pockets overflowing with papers full of laws and regulations. After him there is a fat clergyman standing and calling unto God holding a cross in his hand and not even Kupka´s favourite figure of man of property is missing. This wealthy person is caricaturized as a figure with belly full of money (similarly also on the famous painting L´Argent / Cash from the year 1899). On the left side of this graphical sheet we can see shapely men revolting and the hands of the revolting crowd prance to the statue of freedom. This scene belongs to the early series of Kupka´s moralistic pieces influenced by the Author´s anarchist and socialistic inclinations.
This drawing has never appeared on Czech and not even the world auction market.

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