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Jan Matulka (1890-1972), Three-Quarter View of Nude Bathing Seated Near Lamp, lithograph, 1925, signed and dated in pencil lower right. Reference: Flint 9. Edition: only a few impressions known. On cream laid Japan paper. In good condition, with wide margins at top and bottom, narrow margins on sides, 11 1/2 x 9 7/8, the sheet 17 x 10 3/4 inches, archival mounting.
A fine impression of this important – and rare – Matulka lithograph. This proof impression shows evidence of printing by the artist himself since there is substantial inking in the margins and outside of the image itself; also it is trimmed rather idiosyncratically – wide at the top and bottom, narrow at the sides. No edition is known.
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1890, Jan Matulka became a leading American modernist working at the same time as Lozowick to develop the earliest American Precisionist work, and with Stuart Davis to evolve a new form of Americanized Cubism.
In 1907, he came to the Bronx, New York where he had a poverty-ridden childhood with a mother who tried to raise a family by herself. From 1908 to 1917, he studied at the National Academy of Design, and in 1917, received the first Pulitzer traveling scholarship with which he traveled and painted in the Southwest and Florida.
In 1919, he first went to Paris, where he was exposed to European modernism, (especially Cubism). Three-Quarter View reflects both the realism that was always a theme in the Matulka’s work and also a Cubist idiom that he was to work with through the years. Matulka often varied his approach from rather conventional realism to cutting edge modernism, even during the same periods.
Matulka had his first one-man exhibit in New York City in 1925. A reclusive and independent figure, he did not fashion his art or career for optimal art world recognition. Still, he has been the subject of great interest and regard over the years, especially among artists and curators, and his work is increasingly sought after among those interested in the evolution of American modernism.