Jiří John

Jiří John

1923 Třešť ✚1972 Prague

 

1938

Graduates the grammar school in Třešť. Trains as a locksmith.

1941

Works in a machine factory in Hedvikov. Creates his first line drawings for the local student journal Vítr.

1945-1946

Studies one year at the State Graphic School in Prague under prof. Zdeněk Balaš. Meets Jiří Mrázek, Jiří Šindler and Adriena Šimotová.

1946-1951

Studies at the School of Applied Arts in Prague (since 1948 the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design) in the studio of prof. Josef Kaplický, concurrently with Adriena Šimotová, Jiří Mrázek, Jiří Šindler, Jiří Schmidt. Through Jiří Mrázek he meets Václav Boštík.

1947

Attends an exhibition by Josef Šíma in Prague’s Topič Salon.

1948

Václav Boštík assigns his studio to Jiří John in Nad Královskou oborou 15 in Prague. A friendship develops between the two artists, which is of fundamental significance for both.

1951

Begins his two-year military service and discovers the poetry of Boris Pasternak.       

1953

Marries Adriena Šimotová. Enters the II. Regional Center of the Czechoslovak Union of Graphic Artists, Umělecká beseda. Here he meets Václav Bartovský. Together with Václav Boštík, Stanislav Kolíbal, Daisy Mrázková, Jiří Mrázek and Adriena Šimotová, he participates in a non-public confrontational exhibition held in the studio of Václav Boštík. Temporary worker on archaeological surveys at the Golden Horse near Koněprus, and discovers the world of geological strata and spaces beneath the Earth’s surface.

1954-1959

Works with Václav Boštík at the Memorial of Jewish Victims of Nazism at the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague.

1956

Visits Paris for the first time. Travels with an exhibition of children’s drawings from the Terezín concentration camp (together with Václav Boštík). Meets Jan Křížek.

1957

Takes part in the Exhibition of Five Artists in the Aleš Hall of Umelecká beseda in Prague. Meets Věra and Vladimír Janoušková at the Regional Center of the Czechoslovak Union of Graphic Artists.

1958

Works on illustrations to Michelangelo’s Sonnets.

1960

Birth of son Martin. Solo exhibition in the Aleš Hall of Umělecká beseda.

1961-1964

Illustrates Dostoevsky’s novel The Insulted and the Injured (published by Svět sovětů). Appointed assistant professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he leads an evening drawing school. He regularly participates in international graphic art exhibitions where he receives numerous awards (1963 silver medal in Sao Paulo, 1965 fifth prize in Ljubljana; San Marino, Písek, 1966 in Lugano, 1969 in Ljubljana, Václav Hollar prize in Prague, 1970 prize for drawing in Rijeka).

1964

Trip to Paris, where he met Josef Šíma. Studies the works of Joan Miró and Max Ernst. Alois Jirásek made a short film about Jiří John on a theme suggested by Jiří Šetlík.

1965

Independent exhibition in the New Hall. First signs of chronic kidney inflammation.

1966

Trip to Switzerland. Works on illustrations for the Lighthouses of Saint-John Pers for which he received the Mladá fronta publishing house prize in 1967.

1967-1968

Creates the tapestry Crystals for the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the World Exhibition in Montreal. Creates the tapestry Rosa for the Czechoslovak Embassy in London. The monumental image Movement of the Earth for the Federal Assembly building in Prague. Tapestry for the Czechoslovak Embassy in Stockholm.

1968

Awarded the Klement Gottwald State Prize. Trip to France, where he meets with Josef Šíma at his retrospective exhibition in Paris.

1969

Trip to Germany, Poland. Trip to France with Adriena Šimotová. Visits Josef Šíma in his studio. Illustrates Moon by Karel Toman, published by Mladá fronta. Tomáš Osolsobě makes the film Talks with John.

1970

Jaromír Zemina completes John’s monograph for the Obelisk publishing house (the book was not published until 1988 by Odeon).
With the advent of Normalization, the group UB 12 began to dissolve and was officially banned in 1970.


Based on biographical data of the members of UB12 up to 1970 in: SLAVICKÁ Milena. UB 12 - Studies, interviews, documents. Prague: Gallery in cooperation with Gema Art a o.s. OSVU, 2006, pp. 306-311

Selected artworks


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