Modern Czech Photography

A Portfolio

December 13, 2018–March 31, 2019
The portfolio Modern Czech Photography (Moderní česká fotografie) is a rare and powerful body of work by some of the most important mid-century Czech photographers. Featuring such masters as Jaromír Funke and Josef Sudek, giants in the history of modernism, the portfolio holds special historic importance because it was published in 1943, during World War II and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. The portfolio is a recent gift to MAG by the museum’s director, Jonathan Binstock, and his wife, Ann.

Modern Czech Photography was intended to showcase the work of prominent mid-century Czech photographers, as well as to spread and promote the notion of photography as a fine art. It was produced with great attention to detail in the selection of artists, images, materials, design, and construction. Today, institutions such as the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and the Olomouc Museum of Art, Moravia, Czech Republic house examples of the portfolio in their permanent collections. Of the 50 that were planned, the number of portfolios that were actually completed and that are still extant today is unknown.

read the press release

shown: Jaromír Funke (Czech, 1896-1945)
Untitled, from the series ‘Time Persists’ (detail)
1932, printed no later than 1943.
Gift of L. Ann and Jonathan P. Binstock in honor of Marisol and Moreton Binn.