Stanislav Kolibal

Veletrzní Palác

In the former Czechoslovakia, the work of early Modernists such as Vaclav Spala, Emil Filla, and Otto Guttfreund was anathema to the Communist regime. Modernism remained politically adversarial during the forty years of Communist rule, making de facto dissidents of its practitioners. Stanislav Kolibal began working almost immediately following the end of World War II and the Communist accession to power, thus his production evolved in the context of this historical rupture.

Kolibal’s career was recently traced in a comprehensive retrospective at the Veletrzni Palac, the enormous Functionalist “Trade-Fair Palace” that opened in December 1995 as the new home of the National Gallery’s collection of Modern art. Formally, there are clear affinities between his work and that of Barnett Newman, Richard Serra, and Donald Judd. The difference—the central difference between American and Czech

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