New Realisms Modern Realist Approaches across the Czechoslovak Scene 1918–1945

Curators: Anna Habánová, Ivo Habán, Helena Musilová

The term New Realisms refers to a broader spectrum of the period realist approaches, including the areas of work traditionally referred to as Neoclassicism, Verism, New Objectivity, social art, magic realism and primitivism and, in photography, especially the New Vision. In terms of content, these are often depictions of modern life and its transformations in connection with the development of technology, the emancipation of women, the possibilities of travel, communication and entertainment. These works respond both to the social success of the newly emerging middle class and to the pressing social problems of an economically divided society.

The intention of presenting these modern realist approaches from the Czechoslovak space is linked to recent similar projects in Germany, Italy, Austria and the USA, with which the Czechoslovak scene, anchored in the Central European space, corresponds in some respects, but at the same time bears its own regionally conditioned specifics. The project follows works that formally and in terms of their content are related and reflect the modern realist tendencies of the 1920s, which until recently have largely stood aside from the predominantly Francophone interpretation of the development of art history in Czechoslovakia. The exhibition at the Municipal Library will present paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, with a separate section devoted to photography and film, including period magazines.

Heribert Fischer-Geising, Portrait of Hildegard, 1931, oil on canvas, courtesy of Freital Municipal Collections, Photographer Steffen Petrenz

The aim of the exhibition is to encompass modern realist expressions of the given time period, taking into account ethnic minorities and solitary artists within the borders of the former Czechoslovakia, while offering an alternative view of the previously experienced perception of modernity in the visual culture of the period under review. Among those represented will be Karel Čapek, Jan Zrzavý, Otto Gutfreund, František Muzika, Miloslav Holý, Pravoslav Kotík, Milada Marešová, Zdenek Rykr, Vlasta Vostřebalová-Fišerová, Konštantín Bauer, Sándor (Alexander) Bortnyik, Ferdiš Duša, František Foltýn, Jaromír Funke, Paul Gebauer, Edmund Gwerk, Karel Holan, Běla Kašparová, Béla Kontuly, Alfred Kunft, Ladislav Majerský, Erwin Müller, Ernest Neuschul, Edith Plischke-Fleissner, Arthur Ressel, Jaroslav Rössler, Gejza Schiller, Ilona Singer, Erika Streit, Imrich Weiner-Král’, Eugen Wiškovský and others.

The exhibition is a continuation of the research supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.

The project will be presented in a modified and expanded version in a double exhibition at the East Slovak Gallery in Košice from October 2024 to February 2025 (mainly themes such as lived reality, portraiture, still life) and at the Peter Michal Bohúň Gallery in Liptovský Mikuláš (mainly the medium of photography and film with an emphasis on social aspects and propaganda).

Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Nove realismy_GMHP_Mestska knihovna_ph_Jan_Kolsky_06 (1)
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský
Foto: Jan Kolský


New Realisms Modern Realist Approaches across the Czechoslovak Scene 1918–1945

from: 27. 3. 2024
to: 25. 8. 2024

Curators: Anna Habánová, Ivo Habán, Helena Musilová

Graphic Design: Jan Havel
Architect: Richard Loskot

press release

Municipal Library of Prague, 2nd floor
Mariánské náměstí 98/1
110 00 Prague 1 – Staré Město

Tue-Wed 10 am – 6 pm
Thu 10 am – 8 pm
Fri-Sun 10 am – 6 pm

Barrier-free access is provided via the entrance from Valentinská Street (elevator).


CZK 200 full / adults
CZK 90 reduced / pupils and students age 11–26; ISIC, ITIC and EYCA card holders; senior citizens age 65+; school groups
CZK 50 reduced / children age 6–10
CZK 450 family / 2 adults + 1–4 children under 15 y.
free / GHMP Member / GHMP Member Plus; GHMP Patron

Special admissions and special discounts

When you buy a ticket, you will receive a voucher for 50% discount on the exhibition Group Therapy / Collections in Dialogue at the Stone Bell House.


The exhibition is held under the auspices of Mgr. Martin Baxa, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic,
and JUDr. Jiří Pospíšil, deputy mayor of the City of Prague for the area of culture, tourism, preservation of monuments, exhibitions and animal welfare.