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Vlastislav Hofman papers and drawings, 1904-1984, 1904-1984

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Finding aid for Vlastislav Hofman papers and drawings, 1904-1984
Series II. Correspondence, 1916-1963 0.83 linear feet (2 boxes)
This series contains letters and postcards received by Hofman from prominent Czech artists, writers, dramaturgists and critics. Some of these letters are of a more personal nature, but many provide interesting discussions on contemporary trends in art. The letters from Karel and Josef Čapek are undated, but most likely were sent in 1911 and 1912 when the brothers were living in Paris. One recent monograph on Czech Cubism mentions that both Hofman and Josef Čapek studied for a brief period in 1912 at the Academie Colarossi in Paris, though this information has not been corroborated in any other biographical sketch of Hofman ( Czech Cubism: Architecture, Furniture, and Decorative Arts, 1910-1925. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992). The collection holds a number of letters from one of Hofman's clostest friends, the artist Vacláv Špála. Špála also traveled to Paris in 1911 and, like the Čapeks, contributed to the development of Cubism in Prague upon his return. None of the letters from Špála in the present collection date from 1911, but many were sent in 1913 when Špála was on a study fellowship in Italy. In one of his letters to Hofman, Špála provides an elaborate description of his theories of painting.
Included in the archive are a number of postcards from Hofman's close friend and fellow artist Pavel Janák. The postcards document Janák's travels to Florence, Rome, Munich, Vienna, and other cities in Europe. A few of the cards date as early as 1904, the earliest piece of correspondence in the collection, where Hofman and Janák were still at the Technical University in Prague. Of note are the letters and cards sent by a few of Hofman's friends and acquaintances, for example the dramaturge Josef Kodiček and the artist Bohumil Kubišta, while they were stationed at the front in WWI. Kubišta, one of the better known Czech painters of the Cubist movement, died soon after returning from the front in 1918.
Also present are postcards sent to Hofman in 1910 by the prominent art critic Václav Štech while he was abroad in Italy and Berlin. Both Štech and his wife Marie Štechová were close friends of Hofman. Štech and Hofman were among the founding members of the Skupina organization.
The collection contains sixty-five letters to Hofman from the writer Jan Bartoš dated between 1916 and 1918. During this period Hofman appears to have corresponded frequently and extensively with Bartoš who was then living in Turov. Bartoš played an integral role in Hofman's introduction into the world of theater in 1919, and Hofman later designed sets for productions of several of Bartoš' plays. The letters include copious notes by Bartoš on Fyodor Dostroevsky's novels. In a few letters he lists quotations from the novels regarding a particular character and then adds his own subsequent analysis of the character. Approximately at the same time as the letters were written, Hofman was working on a series of drawings inspired by these same characters of Dostoevsky's works.
Three postcards in the collection were written by Otakar Kubín to Josef Čapek. These are notable because it is believed that most of Čapek's correspondence was lost after his arrest by the Nazis in 1939; he would later die at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. All of the postcards from Kubín were sent from Paris, probably sometime in the early 1910s. In one postcard Kubín reports that he has attended a lecture by Filippo Tommaso Marínetti where he has met the sculptor Umberto Boccioni.
Two letters from the poet Stanislav Neumann discuss articles recently published by Hofman. The letters were written around the time when Hofman was designing book covers for Neumann's collections of poetry (see Series V, Box 13*). Also of note in Series II are two orginal music scores (piano fortes) written by Miroslav Ponc. The scores are written on small cards, signed by Ponc and dated 1961 and 1962.
Miscellaneous business correspondence in the collection provides accounts of the sale of works, honoraria for articles, and membership in Skupina vytvarných umělců. Several letters from Lee Simonson document Hofman's participation in an international exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1934. In his postcards from Die Aktion, Franz Pfempert asks Hofman to send reproductions of his works for the journal.
Arrangement note
Arrangement is alphabetical.
Hofman to Bartoš
Box Folder
2 3 1916 9.0 items
2 4 1917 33.0 items
2 5 1918 6.0 items
2 6 After 1918 5.0 items
2 1, 7 Undated 12.0 items
2 8 From Josef and Karel Čapek, undated, 14.0 items
2 9 From Josef Chochol, 1925, 1.0 item
2 10 From Karel Dostal, 1926-1934, 3.0 items
2 11 From Bedřich Feuerstein, 1913-1919, 8.0 items
2 12 From Otokar Fischer, 1920-1934, 2.0 items
2 13 From Josef Florian, 1917-1918, 10.0 items
2 14 From Joseph Gregor, undated, 3.0 items
2 15 From Karel Hugo Hilar, 1929 1.0 item
2 16 From Pavel Janák, 1904-1918, 10.0 items (including 1 postcard sent to Janák, author unknown)
2 17 From Otakar Jeremiaš, 1928, 1.0 item
2 18 From Josef Kodiček, 1915-1917, 3.0 items
2 19 From Edmond Konrád, 1927-1934 and undated, 3.0 items
2 20 From Otakar Kubín to Josef Čapek, undated, 3.0 items
2 21 From Bohumil Kubišta, 1914 2.0 items
2 22 From Antonin Matéjček, 1910 and undated, 2.0 items
2 23 From Stanislav K. Neumann, 1918 2.0 items
2 24 From Miroslav Ponc, 1961-1962 2.0 items (original musical scores)
2 2 Hofman to Bohuslav Reynek, 1920, 3.0 items
2 25 From Miroslav Rutte, 1924-1952, 6.0 items
2 26 From František Šalda, 1917, 6.0 items
2 27 From Václav Špála, 1913-1916, and undated, 27.0 items
General note
(including letter from Špála to Čapek)
2 28 From Václav V. Štech, 1910-1955, and undated, 10.0 items
2 29 From Marie Štechova, 1909-1910, 4.0 items
2 30 From Ružena Svobodova, 1917, 9.0 items
Box Folder
3 1 Various personal letters and postcards, 1924-1957 and undated, 23.0 items
Including 50th birthday greetings.
Illustrated postcards from friends and acquaintances, 23.0 items
Box Folder
3 3 1904-1918 23.0 items
3 4 1920s 21.0 items
3 5 1930s 21.0 items
3 6 1944-1963 12.0 items
3 2 Undated 25.0 items
3 7 Financial receipts for publications and sale of works, 1911-1931, 9.0 items
3 8 Correspondence regarding exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, from Lee Simonson and others, 1933-1934, 14.0 items
3 9 from Franz Pfemfert at Die Aktion, 1917, 4.0 items
3 10 from Skupina Výtvarných Umělců, 1913, 6.0 items
3 11 Miscellaneous business correspondence, 1917-1933, 4.0 items


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