Jan Kutálek 1917 – 1987


Jan Kutálek was born in Prague on 20 July, 1917. After studying painting and sculpture, he concentrated exclusively on ceramics from 1940, when he discovered the creative possibilities of clay. From the very beginning he worked on figural ceramics and found his own means of expression in a synthesis of plastic shape and colour.

It would be difficult to span the whole range of his themes. Fairy-tales, fables, customs, dances and songs, music and poetry, tales from ancient and Slav mythology, mediaeval legends, typical characters from the Czech and Moravian country-side, fairs, circuses, jazz, religious, legendary and exotic themes, animals and birds, all these are but a small part of Kutálek’s inner world, of his poetic imagination.

The artist’s unfailing and constantly regenerated invention overcomes all technical problems, all questions of format and dimensions. His perfect mastery of his art, thorough knowledge of technology and reliable estimation of their results give full rein to his creative intellect. That is why his ceramic reliefs and paintings convey, with equal success, epic breadth and communicativeness, a touch of humour or comic charm, a grotesque grimace, lyrical tenderness, a dramatic accent, adventurous longing, joy and distress and the nostalgia of misty memories. In the thirty years of his creative work Jan Kutálek has become one of the most prominent personalities of Czech modern ceramics.

Jan Spurný