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Alexandr Vladimír Hrska (1890-1954)

academical painter, scenograph, graphic artist


Alexandr Vladimír Hrska, Czech painter, graphic designer and scenographer, was born 9th May 1890 in Prague, Vinohrady. He studied at realschule Na Smetance and in 1909 enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1912, after completing the common school by professor Bukovac, he was accepted to special school of paintings and graphics lead by prof. Švabinský which he left in 1915 after successful graduation.

In the spring 1916 he married Máša Machoňová, a graduate of Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, and became a manager of stage setting at City theater in Královské Vinohrady. He worked shoulder to shoulder with prominent Czech stage manager K.H. Hilar. He left the theater during a strike in 1919 while staying sympathetic to the staff. IN the same year he became a member of SČUG Hollar (Association of Czech Graphic Artists Hollar). He worked in Brno as a manager of stage setting during 1921 and 1922 (he also staged the first opening of Janáček's Káťa Kabanová (Katya Kabanowa) and Čapeks' Pictures from the Insects' Life). From 1927 to 1933 he was an outside illustrator of National Papers (Národní listy) and from 1933 to 1936 became an art editor and consultant of Slovak publishing house named Mazač.

From 1936 he didn't have any permanent job, he was painting, illustrating, staging dramas, participating in exhibits and competitions (he received a bronze medal at International Exhibit in Paris 1937). Until his death 23rd October 1954 he lived in his house at Prague-Dejvice.

Biography in dates

May 9th 1890 - born in Prague (Vinohrady, Nr. 532), father František Hrstka (clerk), mother Emilie (maiden name Fialová)
May 24th 1890 - baptized as Vladimír Josef
1896 - 1901 - primary school (Vinohrady, obecná škola Na Smetance)
1901 - 1909 - secondary school (Vinohrady, reálka Na Smetance)
1909 - 1915 - Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (C. k. Akademie Umění výtvarných v Praze): 1st - 2nd grade Prof. Vlaho Bukovac, 3rd - 4th grade the Special Department for Graphics and Painting of M. Švabinský at the Academy of Arts
1914 - study tour to Paris, France (almost 3 months)
April 29th 1916 - married to Marie (called Máša), maiden name Machoňová, the graduate of School of painting and drawing for ladies (1908/1912, Prof. Em. Krostová) and Academy of Arts Architecture and Design in Prague (1912/1916)
- they live together in an apartment in Letohradská street 27, Praha XII
1916 - Autumn - he became temporary and then permanent painter of the Vinohrady Theater (Městské divadlo na Královských Vinohradech), and later also the chief of stage
- became a member of the SVU Mánes (Sdružení výtvarných umělců Mánes - Association of Visual Artists Mánes), where he first gave an exhibition as guest
December 24th 1918 - his daughter Eva was born
1919 - became member of S. Č. U. G. Hollar (Sdružení českých umělců grafiků Hollar - Association of Czech Graphic Artists Hollar)
December 23rd 1919 - he left his employment at Vinohrady Theater because of the strike
1921 - 1922 - chief stage (dramaturghy: Mahen, director: V. Štěch) in City Theatre in Brno, where he made 23 stage setting in one season
- he started a number of great friendships, for example with Leoš Janáček, whom he made the world premiere of his opera "Káťa Kabanová" (November 23, 1921) and later his other operas, too ("Liška Bystrouška" - "The Cunning Little Vixen", "Její pastorkyňa" - "Her Stepdaughter")
- design of curtain for Theatre at the Veveří street; the curtain was installed in 1922
1921 - 1922 - he was accredited to teach "costume design" at the State music and drama conservatory in Brno (Státní hudební a dramatická konservatoř v Brně) for one hour per week
1922 - 1927 - freelance occupation artist, he worked mostly for theatres (National Theatre, and once also for Vinohrady Theatre) and as the illustrator
April 27th 1927 - the stage setting for the premiere of opera "Švanda Dudák" by Jaromír Weinberger in National Theatre in Prague
1927 - 1933 - starting May 1, the permanent illustrator at Pražská akciová tiskárna (Prague Stock Printery), especially for Národní listy (National Newspaper)
1929 - poster "Barrandov Terraces"
1933 - 1936 - starting October 1, the art editor of Mazáč Publisher in Prague
1937 - free cycle of paintings and drawings with the theme of Prague bridges
1942 - book get-up "Pohádka Máje" (The May Fairy Tale) by Vilém Mrštík
- curtain for Na Poříčí Theatre for play "Trunda and Lajda" by Hauptmann
- the only one-man exhibition in his lifetime
sice 1945 - constant co-operation with theatre in Karlovy Vary
1946 - third prize in contest for decoration of the ceremony hall of the Old-town town-hall (Staroměstská radnice)
1948 - 1953 - every summer, he traveled to Okarec by Náměšť nad Oslavou
1949 - death of his wife
1950 - he worked on free cycle based on works by Czech writer Alois Jirásek
1954 - the last stage setting in Oblastní divadlo Karlovy Vary (the Regional Theatre Karlovy Vary) - (J. W. Goethe: Faust, directed by B. Stejskal)
October 23rd 1954 - died in Prague