Biography


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JARMILA MARANOVA  AND  PRAGUE

The excerpt from writings by
Arno Pařík, Exhibition Curator of the Jewish Museum in Prague :

FAMILY

Jarmila Maranova was born on  September 8th, 1922 in Prague.

Her father, Augustin Bartoš (1888-1969), was a leading Czech pedagogue and director of the Jedlicka Institute for Disabled Children. Her mother Bedriška (neé Weinberger, 1892-1942) was a conservatory-trained pianist and music teacher. She was the elder sister of the composer Jaromír Weinberger (1896-1967), also a graduate of the Prague Conservatory. In 1925-26 he composed the opera  Schwanda the Bagpiper,   the premiere of which at Prague’s National Theatre in April met with great success. The opera was performed at the world’s leading opera houses, including Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera. With her family background Jarmila Maranová was destined for a music career. She was to have attended the conservatory, but fate brought her to art. She later recalled: “I grew up a healthy person among children who were very disfigured – and this has affected me for all my life. One of these children was Karel Janíček, a severely handicapped painter who was a great friend of mine…” Her parents divorced before the war, as a result of which her mother Bedriška and her sister Eva (1926-1943) were deported to Terezín in 1942. Bedriška volunteered to be deported with her grandmother Ružena in October 1942, and they both perished in the Treblinka death camp, as did most of her other relatives. As Jarmila Maranová further recalls: “My cousin Honzík Nettel, for example, thumbed his nose at an SS-man on the street in Mnichovice, who turned round and shot him! Honzík was just 16. My cousin Milena was just 15…” During the Nazi occupation, Jarmila Maranová, with the help of friends, was able to attend Prague’s School of Applied Arts, which was one of the few higher education institutions to remain open. She studied textile design with Prof. František Kysela and glass design with Prof. Jaroslav V. Holecek and Bretislav Novák. Life was extremely stressful for Maranová in occupied Prague, with constant tension, uncertainty and the deportation of family members. Graduating in 1944, she began to focus on applied/advertising design after the war. Among her earliest art work are designs for two coloring books (on the topics Flowers and Kitchen), which she made in 1947 for Družstevní práce publishers. These are an interesting example of her early graphic style, which was remarkable for its simplicity and, at the same time, its distinctly poetic character. Shortly after the war she married Jaroslav Maran (1923 – 1996), who had briefly attended the Prague Academy of Fine Arts and was also involved in applied graphic arts. They had two children, Eva (b. 1947) and Ilja (b. 1946), who immigrated to the USA in 1968.
In the 50s it was not at all easy to make a living from applied graphic art. Among Maranová’s most interesting commercial work at the time was designing posters for the Supraphon record label to promote the music of Czech composers, such as Janácek (1953) and Smetana (1954). These posters also contain elements of the abstract stylization that came through in the work of younger artists despite the adversity of the day. In 1956-58 she contributed to the interior design of the Czechoslovak Pavilion (the agriculture section) for the World Expo in Brussels. The success of the pavilion led to the establishment of a group of designers and applied artists at the Umelecká beseda in Prague, who in 1958-66 jointly exhibited as the group Bilance; their first two shows, in 1958 and 1960, also involved the participation of Maranová.
Closely connected with literature, Maranová early on designed books and book covers for the Ceskoslovenský spisovatel and Naše vojsko publishers.  She later designed and illustrated several popular educational books for the Státní zdravotnické (later Avicenum) and Státní pedagogické publishers.

DISTANT JOURNEY

Maranová’s first major independent work was a set of graphic studies and paintings that were dedicated to the memory of her mother and other relatives who were murdered in Treblinka and Auschwitz. The entire series was entitled Distant Journey – after the 1949 film of the same name directed by Alfréd Radok, one of the first post-war films about the Holocaust. These works probably date from the late 50s, when she was putting together Portrait of Mother in an attempt to come to terms with the trauma of her fate. Inspired by the prison orchestra in Auschwitz, Maranová’s two versions of the composition Song (1960/61) provide a poetic metaphor for the deep sorrow at the loss of loved ones. Similarly, the composition Prayer (1962) was probably inspired by the fate of Terezín children in the Czech family camp at Auschwitz. The setting of the Terezín ghetto is recalled by the coloured linocut Head with Star (1962) with its bare tree branches. Dedicated to the memory of her sister, cousin and other Terezín children, Maranová’s painting of a girl in a broken wicker chair (1962) effectively conveys the experience of death and decay. The drawings Boys with Star (1959) The End (1960) and Girl with Star (1961) all deal with the topic of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Maranová’s work developed over several years – from the first expressive studies to the more stylized and abstract compositions that were deliberately primitive, as if child-like, with seemingly expressionless and silent figures characterized by great urgency and inward emotion. Showing Jewish faces as targets at a fair shooting range, the coloured linocut Strelnice (1961) recalls, with its anti-Semitism, the figures from folk puppet theatre. These and other works were featured in Maranová’s first one-person show for the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which was held at the Czechoslovak Cultural Centre in Warsaw in April 1963.
The main work in the set, however, is To the Victims of the Warsaw Ghetto (1963), a large structural painting on rough canvas. The ardent faces of the brave ghetto fighters seem to appear as apparitions in the flames behind the brick ghetto walls. This was probably the first time the uprising had been officially commemorated in the Czech lands. The Literární noviny newspaper reported the following: “In Maranová’s paintings, memories of the wartime horrors and the Nazi ‘Solution of the Jewish Question’ morph into fantastical, supra-real – at times too real – apparitions. Due to its visual quality, however, the series is more than a document and deserves to be shown in Prague.”    As far as we know, the exhibition was not shown in Prague. Maranová did not return to this topic until many years later in America, when she made a new portrait of her mother and grandmother.

KAFKA AND PRAGUE

The post-war reception of the work of Franz Kafka in Prague and the rest of Bohemia followed on from earlier publications. Many of his stories, including The Stoker, were translated and published in magazines by Milena Jesenská while Kafka was still alive. Josef Portmann in Litomyšl published the stories An Old Manuscript (1928), A Report to an Academy (1929) and A Country Doctor (1931) as bibliophile editions, each accompanied with outstanding illustrations by the Westphalian expressionist Albert Schamoni.  These editions, together with Otto Coestler illustrations for the first Czech edition of Metamorphosis (translated by L. Vrána, published by Josef Florián in Stará Ríše in Moravia in 1929), were probably the first attempts to illustrate Kafka’s works. In 1935 the publishing house of the Mánes Association of Czech Fine Arts published a translation of The Castle by Pavel Eisner with an epilogue by Max Brod, and in 1938 the first dissertation on Franz Kafka was put together at Otokar Fischer’s seminar at the Arts Faculty of Charles University.  When it was no longer possible for publisher Samuela Fischera to issue Kafka’s works in Germany, the last two volumes of the first edition VI (1936) and VII (1937) were published in Prague, as were the first editions of Kafka’s biography by his friend, Max Brod (1937). Interest in Franz Kafka was revived with greater intensity after the war. The first studies by writers from Czechoslovakia (P. Eisner, P. Trost, H. Siebenschein, etc.) and abroad (A. Camus, R. Warner) were published and new translations of Kafka’s works appeared (K. Projza, L. Kundera). In 1947 the literary revue Listy zprávu reported that publisher Václav Petr intended to issue a collected edition of Kafka’s works in Czech, and in the same year publisher V. Žikeš issued Franz Kafka and Prague, a collection of studies and memoirs.   Kafka’s work was also referenced by Václav Cerný in První sešit o existencialismu (1948). Interest in Kafka was pushed into the background after the Communist takeover in February 1948 but quickly revived during the political easing after 1956. In 1957 Eisner’s study on Kafka appeared in Svetová literatura and his translation of The Trial was published a year later, starting a new wave of interest in Kafka’s work in the Czech lands. This culminated in an international conference on Kafka that was held at Libice near Prague in 1963 – the 80th anniversary of Kafka’s birth.   A year later, to mark the 40th anniversary of Kafka’s death, Zdenek Kirschner and Jirí Žantovský organized the exhibition Franz Kafka (1883-1924) – Life and Work at the Museum of Czech Literature; Max Brod attended and gave a speech at the opening

show on 23 June 1964.  In addition to Kafka-related documents and books, the exhibition at the Museum of Czech Literature also presented the work of a number of young and unofficial artists, hence the considerable attention paid to it. On display were prints by František Tichý, Zdenek Seydl and Adolf Hoffmeistr, illustrations for The Trial by Ivan Urbánek, prints by Dana Puchnarová and coloured reliefs by Jirí Bureš. Above all, however, the exhibition showcased works by leading contemporary unofficial artists, including Mikuláš Medek, Zbynek Sekal, Jirí Balcar, Karel Nepraš and Antonín Tomalík, as well as photographs by Jan Lukas, Josef Sudek and Emila Medková. Although these artists did not directly illustrate Kafka, their own work offered surprising parallels with Kafka’s style, motifs and atmosphere. Many other artists who could also have been mentioned in this connection were featured at a prematurely shut-down exhibition held by Group D at Prague’s Galerie Nová sín in the same year.  A major attraction in the Prague cultural world of the day, the exhibition was subsequently shown elsewhere in Czechoslovakia and abroad. Everything seemed to recall Franz Kafka in the Prague of the early 1960s – the unreal atmosphere of a crumbling city, the outright absurdity of everyday life and the poorly functioning bureaucratic system. Jarmila Maranová also turned her attention to the literary work of Kafka at this time. As far as we know, she did not take part in any of the official exhibitions mentioned. The exhibition at the Museum of Czech Literature, however, was attended by Jirí Bureš, who actually introduced Maranová to this material.

“One of the last works of my untimely deceased friend, the sculptor Jirí Bureš, was a portrait of Franz Kafka. Unfortunately he died very young. At that time, I myself began working on monotypes for Kafka’s short stories. I gathered strength and continued intensively on this work… First of all, Kafka looked like one of my cousins, and secondly my reading of his works reminded me so much of the atmosphere of the pre-war Jewish Town, where I used to walk with my grandma Weinberger, mother and sister. We left stones on the grave of Rabbi Loew and hid in the elderberry bushes where we scared stray cats. Silence prevailed there at the time, undisturbed by photo-snapping tourists… This atmosphere is imprinted in my soul. The Jewish shops in Maisel Street, Štupartská, Týn Temple and the Old-New Synagogue – it was a mysterious world for me, and it remained within me. And along with reading Kafka, I developed a body of work on this topic over several years.”

This experience never left Maranová; when she began to focus on her own oeuvre, it permanently returned to her. During the Nazi occupation, she made an entire series of colour lithographs with motifs of the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the streets of the Old and Jewish towns and the panoramic views of nocturnal Prague.
Kafka-inspired works by Maranová were shown at Prague’s Jewish Museum in 1965 in the exhibition Kafka and Prague, which was launched by Eduard Goldstücker. This was one of the first temporary shows to be held at the museum after 1948. Soon later, her series of monotypes and lithographs, Kafka’s The Trial and Kafka’s Prague, was shown in a number of exhibitions across Germany, Austria, Paris, Holland and Norway.  After emigrating in 1977, she exhibited her work in a similarly conceived exhibition at the Skirball Jewish Museum in Los Angeles. Her monotypes are only in part illustrations of certain scenes in Kafka’s short stories and novels; mostly they are a loosely based graphic accompaniment or paraphrase of the feelings and thoughts provoked by his work. Maranová wrote the following: “Franz Kafka corresponds to my own inner dream world. I feel at home in the atmosphere of Kafka’s prose, although it affects me intuitively rather than rationally. His state of mind is close to me – as is his home town…” Maranová transforms Kafka’s existentially tinged stories into images that compellingly evoke the atmosphere of old Prague, as it still looked and was experienced in the mid-60s. The surface of Maranová’s monotypes forms a structure that is reminiscent of the walls of old buildings, from which hidden images and indistinct faces suddenly emerge. She creates ghostly figures that languidly move as if in delirium or hover over the city as if in a dream, lending a highly imaginative and surrealistic quality to her work. Maranová also made separate monotypes for the short stories A Country Doctor, Trapeze Artist and A Hunger Artist, for Kafka’s letters to Milena and for several of Kafka’s aphorisms.

Ludvík Aškenázy wrote the following in the catalogue for the exhibition at Galerie ZB in Vienna in February 1967: “Two Prague walkers – Franz Kafka and Jarmila Maranová – met. They missed each other in space, either on purpose or by mistake. But they did meet each other in time, where the two found themselves without having to exchange a single word. Neither of Jarmila Maranová’s cycles, Kafka’s Prague and Kafka’s The Trial, are mere illustrations. They are a greeting from the realm of anxiety and darkness. A record of a new walk through the old, winding lanes of life in which a distant, solitary window with the silhouette of a person sometimes opens.”

GEORG BÜCHNER: WOYZECK

Maranová followed on from her Kafka series with illustrations for Woyzeck, the famous play by the German revolutionary dramatist Georg Büchner. This work describes the tragic fate of a man unable to deal with the cold-hearted indifference of the external world. Büchner’s style has much in common with Kafka; his irony stretches to grotesquery and an acutely realistic vision is mingled with dream-like hallucinations. Maranová made 12 full-page Woyzeck illustrations, which were published in 1968 together with a bibliophile edition of the text and a number of vignettes by Stuttgart-based publishers Müller and Schindler. Büchner is regarded as a precursor of expressionist drama. Woyzeck was first staged in Czech at the Revolutionary Theatre in 1921 and as an opera with music by Alban Berg at Prague’s National Theatre in 1926.

BIBLICAL MOTIFS – THE BOOK OF JOB AND THE SONG OF SONGS

In an atmosphere of disappointment and hopelessness after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, when her children immigrated to the USA, Maranová found a corresponding theme for a new series of prints in the Book of Job. To her, Job’s fate projects an image of human existence; his difficult ordeals and undeserved fate convey a picture of deepest despair and an archetype of all human tragedy, which Maranová had dealt with before. In the following year she made a number of lithographs and monotypes for the series; these were put on display at the Spanish Synagogue in 1970:  “The synagogue was chock-full, and many people could not even get inside. Among the visitors were Truda Sekaninová, František Kriegl and other brave people from the Prague Spring. Anna Masaryková opened the show and Radovan Lukavský recited Holan’s poem Stone Prayer. I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere of silent and dignified protest…” In marked contrast to this series is a set of lithographs for the most poetic book of the Old Testament, Solomon’s Song of Songs, dating from 1973-74. Maranová describes in them the unique character of the Israeli landscape as she remembered it from her visit to Israel in 1968. As she wrote at the time: “The Israeli landscape is human, tragic and bare. It is an exciting, incomprehensible landscape, truly biblical. Stones here become symbols, water a cult. And when you put your ear to the ground and hold your breath, you’ll hear somewhere in its depths the gentle flutter of bird wings…”

LABYRINTH OF THE WORLD

In the early years of normalization, Maranová found inspiration in The Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart, written in 1623 by a young John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) in a similarly hopeless political situation – two years following the Battle of White Mountain and after the executions of Czech nobles in the Old Town Square. Comenius was on the run, shortly after the death of his first wife and first-born son. The subtitle of the original edition clarifies that it was a “depiction which in this world and all things is nothing but confusion and staggering, whirling and toiling, delusion and deception, misery and loneliness and, in the end, weariness at everything and despair…” In a large series of about 50 drawings and lithographs from 1972-73, Maranová uncovers the drama of the alienated and hostile world of incipient normalization, but also discovers the figure of the pilgrim, an outcast from his own country, which was soon to become her fate, too.
She said the following about this work: “I didn’t choose the figure of Comenius by chance. It took shape shortly before I left for America to be with my children. The pilgrim himself was forced to leave his homeland in order to search in the labyrinth of life abroad for his place in the world – as did thousands of other Czechs after him… This series of lithographs and drawings was exhibited in 1974 at the Museum of Czech Literature but the preview was banned by the director at the time…”

AMERICA AND THE CASTLE

In 1976 Maranová went to the United States to be with her children. After two years inLos Angeles, she then moved to New York, where she lived until 2005. Amid the labyrinth of skyscrapers she returned once again to Kafka. In 1977-78 she made another series of monotypes, this time for Kafka’s novel America. It was a difficult experience for Maranová, encountering a completely different and alien world, and it was in Kafka’s America she found a description of a traumatic encounter with the New World – the arrival of young Karl Rossmann from Prague. Paradoxically, then, by illustrating another Kafka novel, she found a link with her earlier life and work. Later on, she started to focus on motifs from Kafka’s The Castle, which also describes the feelings and situations of a person in an alien and incomprehensible world – the land surveyor K. Drawing upon a lifelong preoccupation with Kafka, Maranová drew the illustrations for a bibliophile edition of The Trial and The Castle (published by the Franklin Library, Philadelphia), for which in 1984 she received four awards from leading American graphic design and art associations. In the 1980s, Maranová also made watercolours, paintings and drawings of American and European landscapes, the most remarkable of which is a series of almost abstract drawings of the Bretagne coast (1982-85). Her style later became less direct, withdrawing more into the world of her imagination, memory and fantasy. In her last, unfinished series, which she worked on mainly in the 1990s, the central motifs from Kafka and Comenius are combined in the symbolic figure of a Jewish pilgrim, an outcast restlessly wandering through worlds and centuries with a pack on his back and a Torah scroll in his arms. Also appearing more frequently in her paintings are Prague clocks with numbers in Hebrew, running backward as if deeper and deeper into the past to the beginnings of Creation.
Maranová is returning more and more to the Prague sources of her inspiration.

RETURN TO PRAGUE

Due to her fate, Maranová was one of the first Czech artists who began to focus on the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in their work. She was also probably the only Czech artist to deal systematically and to such a scale with the works of Franz Kafka. An exhibition of her Kafka illustrations was held in 1965 at the Jewish Museum in Prague. She also exhibited at the museum in 1967 and 1970, when her show was for a long time one of the last exhibitions by a contemporary Jewish artist to be held here. She returned to the museum in 1993, presenting a large exhibition of work she had done in exile in the U.S.  Shortly later she took part in a large exhibition of work by exiled Czechoslovak artists at Klenová Castle and in Klatovy.  In 1995 her work was showcased at the exhibition Old Testament Motifs in 20th Century Czech Art at the Roudnice nad Labem Gallery of Modern Art and later in Karlovy Vary.  In 2002 her series of prints The Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart was featured at an exhibition for the 410th anniversary of the birth of J. A. Comenius at the Comenius Museum in Uherský Brod. At the beginning of 2003 her early work was shown at the exhibition Art is Abstraction: Czech Visual Culture of the 1960s, which was held in Prague, Brno, Olomouc and Munich.
In 2006 Jarmila Maranová gave the Jewish Museum a collection of 54 of her earliest and most successful monotypes and lithographs, inspired by the works of Franz Kafka. On the occasion of her 86th birthday, this generous gift wason display along with other work from the collections of the Jewish Museum, City of Prague Gallery and the Museum of Czech Literature at the Robert Guttmann Gallery. The main principles of Maranová’s oeuvre already appeared in her first loosely rendered works and basically remained the same throughout her life – a focus on symbolic motifs and their free associations in an imaginary space, revealing a strong emotional experience hidden under the surface of reality. During her life she has had about 35 one-person shows across the world, including in Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Bonn, Naarden, The Hague, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Toronto, Ohio and New York.
Her last years  she was living in Sandpoint,  Idaho in a forested area near the Canadian border, where she enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the solitude in which she re-encountered her friends and dreams.

Jarmila Maranova died on October 25th, 2009

JARMILA MARANOVÁ AND PRAGUE

FAMILY

	Jarmila Maranová was born on 8 September 1922 in the Vyšehrad district of Prague.
	Her father, Augustin Bartoš (1888-1969), was a leading Czech pedagogue and director
	of the Jedlicka Institute for Disabled Children. Her mother Bedriška (neé Weinberger, 1892-1942)
	was a conservatory-trained pianist and music teacher. She was the elder sister of the composer
	Jaromír Weinberger (1896-1967), also a graduate of the Prague Conservatory
	In 1925-26 he composed the opera Švanda the Bagpiper, the premiere of which at Prague's National
	Theatre in April met with great success. The opera was performed at the world's leading opera houses,
	including Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera.
	With her family background Jarmila Maranová was destined for a music career. She was to have
	attended the conservatory, but fate brought her to art. She later recalled: "I grew up a
	healthy person among children who were very disfigured - and this has affected me for all
	my life. One of these children was Karel Janícek, a severely handicapped painter who was
	a great friend of mine…" Her parents divorced before the war, as a result of which her
	mother Bedriška and her sister Eva (1926-1943) were deported to Terezín in 1942. Bedriška
	volunteered to be deported with her grandmother Ružena in October 1942, and they both perished
	in the Treblinka death camp, as did most of her other relatives. As Jarmila Maranová further
	recalls: "My cousin Honzík Nettel, for example, thumbed his nose at an SS-man on the street
	in Mnichovice, who turned round and shot him! Honzík was just 16. My cousin Milena was
	just 15..."
	During the Nazi occupation, Jarmila Maranová, with the help of friends, was able to attend
	Prague's School of Applied Arts, which was one of the few higher education institutions
	to remain open. She studied textile design with Prof. František Kysela and glass design
	with Prof. Jaroslav V. Holecek and Bretislav Novák. Life was extremely stressful for Maranová
	in occupied Prague, with constant tension, uncertainty and the deportation of family members.
	Graduating in 1944, she began to focus on applied/advertising design after the war. Among her
	earliest art work are designs for two colouring books (on the topics Flowers and Kitchen),
	which she made in 1947 for Družstevní práce publishers. These are an interesting example of
	her early graphic style, which was remarkable for its simplicity and, at the same time, its
	distinctly poetic character. Shortly after the war she married Jaroslav Maran (1923 - 196?),
	who had briefly attended the Prague Academy of Fine Arts and was also involved in applied
	graphic arts. They had two children, Evicka (b. 1947) and Ilja (b. 1949?), who immigrated
	to the US in 1968.
	In the 50s it was not at all easy to make a living from applied graphic art. Among Maranová's
	most interesting commercial work at the time was designing posters for the Supraphon record
	label to promote the music of Czech composers, such as Janácek (1953) and Smetana (1954).
	These posters also contain elements of the abstract stylization that came through in the work
	of younger artists despite the adversity of the day. In 1956-58 she contributed to the interior
	design of the Czechoslovak Pavilion (the agriculture section) for the World Expo in Brussels.
	The success of the pavilion led to the establishment of a group of designers and applied
	artists at the Umelecká beseda in Prague, who in 1958-66 jointly exhibited as the group Bilance;
	their first two shows, in 1958 and 1960, also involved the participation of Maranová.
	Closely connected with literature, Maranová early on designed books and book covers for
	the Ceskoslovenský spisovatel and Naše vojsko publishers.  She later designed and illustrated
	several popular educational books for the Státní zdravotnické (later Avicenum) and Státní
	pedagogické publishers.

DISTANT JOURNEY

	Maranová's first major independent work was a set of graphic studies and paintings that
	were dedicated to the memory of her mother and other relatives who were murdered in Treblinka
	and Auschwitz. The entire series was entitled Distant Journey - after the 1949 film of
	the same name directed by Alfréd Radok, one of the first post-war films about the Holocaust.
	These works probably date from the late 50s, when she was putting together Portrait of
	Mother in an attempt to come to terms with the trauma of her fate. Inspired by the prison
	orchestra in Auschwitz, Maranová's two versions of the composition Song (1960/61) provide
	a poetic metaphor for the deep sorrow at the loss of loved ones. Similarly, the composition
	Prayer (1962) was probably inspired by the fate of Terezín children in the Czech family camp
	at Auschwitz. The setting of the Terezín ghetto is recalled by the coloured linocut
	Head with Star (1962) with its bare tree branches. Dedicated to the memory of her sister,
	cousin and other Terezín children, Maranová's painting of a girl in a broken wicker
	chair (1962) effectively conveys the experience of death and decay. The drawings
	Boys with Star (1959) The End (1960) and Girl with Star (1961) all deal with the topic
	of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
	Maranová's work developed over several years - from the first expressive studies to the more
	stylized and abstract compositions that were deliberately primitive, as if child-like, with
	seemingly expressionless and silent figures characterized by great urgency and inward emotion.
	Showing Jewish faces as targets at a fair shooting range, the coloured linocut Strelnice (1961)
	recalls, with its anti-Semitism, the figures from folk puppet theatre. These and other works
	were featured in Maranová's first one-person show for the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto
	Uprising, which was held at the Czechoslovak Cultural Centre in Warsaw in April 1963.
	The main work in the set, however, is To the Victims of the Warsaw Ghetto (1963), a large
	structural painting on rough canvas. The ardent faces of the brave ghetto fighters seem to
	appear as apparitions in the flames behind the brick ghetto walls. This was probably the first
	time the uprising had been officially commemorated in the Czech lands. The Literární noviny
	newspaper reported the following: "In Maranová's paintings, memories of the wartime horrors
	and the Nazi 'Solution of the Jewish Question' morph into fantastical, supra-real - at times
	too real - apparitions. Due to its visual quality, however, the series is more than a document
	and deserves to be shown in Prague."    As far as we know, the exhibition was not shown in
	Prague. Maranová did not return to this topic until many years later in America, when she made
	a new portrait of her mother and grandmother.

KAFKA AND PRAGUE

	The post-war reception of the work of Franz Kafka in Prague and the rest of Bohemia followed
	on from earlier publications. Many of his stories, including The Stoker, were translated and
	published in magazines by Milena Jesenská while Kafka was still alive. Josef Portmann in
	Litomyšl published the stories An Old Manuscript (1928), A Report to an Academy (1929) and
	A Country Doctor (1931) as bibliophile editions, each accompanied with outstanding
	illustrations by the Westphalian expressionist Albert Schamoni.  These editions, together
	with Otto Coestler illustrations for the first Czech edition of Metamorphosis (translated
	by L. Vrána, published by Josef Florián in Stará Ríše in Moravia in 1929), were probably
	the first attempts to illustrate Kafka's works. In 1935 the publishing house of the Mánes
	Association of Czech Fine Arts published a translation of The Castle by Pavel Eisner with
	an epilogue by Max Brod, and in 1938 the first dissertation on Franz Kafka was put together
	at Otokar Fischer's seminar at the Arts Faculty of Charles University.  When it was no
	longer possible for publisher Samuela Fischera to issue Kafka's works in Germany, the last
	two volumes of the first edition VI (1936) and VII (1937) were published in Prague, as
	were the first editions of Kafka's biography by his friend, Max Brod (1937).
	Interest in Franz Kafka was revived with greater intensity after the war. The first studies
	by writers from Czechoslovakia (P. Eisner, P. Trost, H. Siebenschein, etc.) and abroad
	(A. Camus, R. Warner) were published and new translations of Kafka's works appeared
	(K. Projza, L. Kundera). In 1947 the literary revue Listy zprávu reported that publisher
	Václav Petr intended to issue a collected edition of Kafka's works in Czech, and in the
	same year publisher V. Žikeš issued Franz Kafka and Prague, a collection of studies and
	memoirs.   Kafka's work was also referenced by Václav Cerný in První sešit o
	existencialismu (1948). Interest in Kafka was pushed into the background after
	the Communist takeover in February 1948 but quickly revived during the political
	easing after 1956. In 1957 Eisner's study on Kafka appeared in Svetová literatura
	and his translation of The Trial was published a year later, starting a new wave of
	interest in Kafka's work in the Czech lands. This culminated in an international
	conference on Kafka that was held at Libice near Prague in 1963 - the 80th anniversary
	of Kafka's birth.   A year later, to mark the 40th anniversary of Kafka's death, Zdenek
	Kirschner and Jirí Žantovský organized the exhibition Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - Life and
	Work at the Museum of Czech Literature; Max Brod attended and gave a speech at the opening
	show on 23 June 1964.
	In addition to Kafka-related documents and books, the exhibition at the Museum of Czech
	Literature also presented the work of a number of young and unofficial artists, hence
	the considerable attention paid to it. On display were prints by František Tichý, Zdenek
	Seydl and Adolf Hoffmeistr, illustrations for The Trial by Ivan Urbánek, prints by
	Dana Puchnarová and coloured reliefs by Jirí Bureš. Above all, however, the exhibition
	showcased works by leading contemporary unofficial artists, including Mikuláš Medek,
	Zbynek Sekal, Jirí Balcar, Karel Nepraš and Antonín Tomalík, as well as photographs by
	Jan Lukas, Josef Sudek and Emila Medková. Although these artists did not directly
	illustrate Kafka, their own work offered surprising parallels with Kafka's style, motifs
	and atmosphere. Many other artists who could also have been mentioned in this connection
	were featured at a prematurely shut-down exhibition held by Group D at Prague's Galerie
	Nová sín in the same year.  A major attraction in the Prague cultural world of the day,
	the exhibition was subsequently shown elsewhere in Czechoslovakia and abroad.
	Everything seemed to recall Franz Kafka in the Prague of the early 1960s - the unreal
	atmosphere of a crumbling city, the outright absurdity of everyday life and the poorly
	functioning bureaucratic system. Jarmila Maranová also turned her attention to the literary
	work of Kafka at this time. As far as we know, she did not take part in any of the official
	exhibitions mentioned. The exhibition at the Museum of Czech Literature, however, was
	attended by Jirí Bureš, who actually introduced Maranová to this material. "One of the
	last works of my untimely deceased friend, the sculptor Jirí Bureš, was a portrait of
	Franz Kafka. Unfortunately he died very young. At that time, I myself began working on
	monotypes for Kafka's short stories. I gathered strength and continued intensively on
	this work… First of all, Kafka looked like one of my cousins, and secondly my reading
	of his works reminded me so much of the atmosphere of the pre-war Jewish Town, where
	I used to walk with my grandma Weinberger, mother and sister. We left stones on the
	grave of Rabbi Loew and hid in the elderberry bushes where we scared stray cats.
	Silence prevailed there at the time, undisturbed by photo-snapping tourists… This
	atmosphere is imprinted in my soul. The Jewish shops in Maisel Street, Štupartská,
	Týn Temple and the Old-New Synagogue - it was a mysterious world for me, and it
	remained within me. And along with reading Kafka, I developed a body of work on this
	topic over several years."   This experience never left Maranová; when she began to
	focus on her own oeuvre, it permanently returned to her. During the Nazi occupation,
	she made an entire series of colour lithographs with motifs of the Prague Castle,
	Charles Bridge, the streets of the Old and Jewish towns and the panoramic views of
	nocturnal Prague.
	Kafka-inspired works by Maranová were shown at Prague's Jewish Museum in 1965 in the
	exhibition Kafka and Prague, which was launched by Eduard Goldstücker. This was one of
	the first temporary shows to be held at the museum after 1948. Soon later, her series
	of monotypes and lithographs, Kafka's The Trial and Kafka's Prague, was shown in a
	number of exhibitions across Germany, Austria, Paris, Holland and Norway.  After emigrating
	in 1977, she exhibited her work in a similarly conceived exhibition at the Skirball
	Jewish Museum in Los Angeles. Her monotypes are only in part illustrations of certain
	scenes in Kafka's short stories and novels; mostly they are a loosely based graphic
	accompaniment or paraphrase of the feelings and thoughts provoked by his work. Maranová
	wrote the following: "Franz Kafka corresponds to my own inner dream world. I feel at home
	in the atmosphere of Kafka's prose, although it affects me intuitively rather than
	rationally. His state of mind is close to me - as is his home town…" Maranová transforms
	Kafka's existentially tinged stories into images that compellingly evoke the atmosphere
	of old Prague, as it still looked and was experienced in the mid-60s. The surface of
	Maranová's monotypes forms a structure that is reminiscent of the walls of old buildings,
	from which hidden images and indistinct faces suddenly emerge. She creates ghostly figures
	that languidly move as if in delirium or hover over the city as if in a dream, lending
	a highly imaginative and surrealistic quality to her work. Maranová also made separate
	monotypes for the short stories A Country Doctor, Trapeze Artist and A Hunger Artist,
	for Kafka's letters to Milena and for several of Kafka's aphorisms.
	Ludvík Aškenázy wrote the following in the catalogue for the exhibition at Galerie ZB
	in Vienna in February 1967: "Two Prague walkers - Franz Kafka and Jarmila Maranová - met.
	They missed each other in space, either on purpose or by mistake. But they did meet each
	other in time, where the two found themselves without having to exchange a single word.
	Neither of Jarmila Maranová's cycles, Kafka's Prague and Kafka's The Trial, are mere
	illustrations. They are a greeting from the realm of anxiety and darkness. A record of
	a new walk through the old, winding lanes of life in which a distant, solitary window
	with the silhouette of a person sometimes opens."

GEORG BÜCHNER: WOYZECK

	Maranová followed on from her Kafka series with illustrations for Woyzeck, the famous
	play by the German revolutionary dramatist Georg Büchner. This work describes the tragic
	fate of a man unable to deal with the cold-hearted indifference of the external world.
	Büchner's style has much in common with Kafka; his irony stretches to grotesquery and
	an acutely realistic vision is mingled with dream-like hallucinations. Maranová made 12
	full-page Woyzeck illustrations, which were published in 1968 together with a bibliophile
	edition of the text and a number of vignettes by Stuttgart-based publishers Müller and
	Schindler. Büchner is regarded as a precursor of expressionist drama. Woyzeck was first
	staged in Czech at the Revolutionary Theatre in 1921 and as an opera with music by Alban
	Berg at Prague's National Theatre in 1926.

BIBLICAL MOTIFS – THE BOOK OF JOB AND THE SONG OF SONGS

	In an atmosphere of disappointment and hopelessness after the occupation of Czechoslovakia
	in August 1968, when her children immigrated to the USA, Maranová found a corresponding
	theme for a new series of prints in the Book of Job. To her, Job's fate projects an image
	of human existence; his difficult ordeals and undeserved fate convey a picture of deepest
	despair and an archetype of all human tragedy, which Maranová had dealt with before. In
	the following year she made a number of lithographs and monotypes for the series; these
	were put on display at the Spanish Synagogue in 1970:  "The synagogue was chock-full, and
	many people could not even get inside. Among the visitors were Truda Sekaninová, František
	Kriegl and other brave people from the Prague Spring. Anna Masaryková opened the show and
	Radovan Lukavský recited Holan's poem Stone Prayer. I've never experienced such an
	atmosphere of silent and dignified protest…"
	In marked contrast to this series is a set of lithographs for the most poetic book of the
	Old Testament, Solomon's Song of Songs, dating from 1973-74. Maranová describes in them
	the unique character of the Israeli landscape as she remembered it from her visit to
	Israel in 1968. As she wrote at the time: "The Israeli landscape is human, tragic and bare.
	It is an exciting, incomprehensible landscape, truly biblical. Stones here become symbols,
	water a cult. And when you put your ear to the ground and hold your breath, you'll hear
	somewhere in its depths the gentle flutter of bird wings..."

LABYRINTH OF THE WORLD

	In the early years of normalization, Maranová found inspiration in The Labyrinth of
	the World and Paradise of the Heart, written in 1623 by a young John Amos Comenius (1592-1670)
	in a similarly hopeless political situation - two years following the Battle of White
	Mountain and after the executions of Czech nobles in the Old Town Square. Comenius was on
	the run, shortly after the death of his first wife and first-born son. The subtitle of
	the original edition clarifies that it was a "depiction which in this world and all things
	is nothing but confusion and staggering, whirling and toiling, delusion and deception,
	misery and loneliness and, in the end, weariness at everything and despair…" In a large
	series of about 50 drawings and lithographs from 1972-73, Maranová uncovers the drama of
	the alienated and hostile world of incipient normalization, but also discovers the figure
	of the pilgrim, an outcast from his own country, which was soon to become her fate, too.
	She said the following about this work: "I didn't choose the figure of Comenius by chance.
	It took shape shortly before I left for America to be with my children. The pilgrim
	himself was forced to leave his homeland in order to search in the labyrinth of life
	abroad for his place in the world - as did thousands of other Czechs after him… This
	series of lithographs and drawings was exhibited in 1974 at the Museum of Czech Literature,
	but the preview was banned by the director at the time…"

AMERICA AND THE CASTLE

	In 1976 Maranová went to the United States to be with her children. After two years in
	Los Angeles, she then moved to New York, where she lived until 2005. Amid the labyrinth
	of skyscrapers she returned once again to Kafka. In 1977-78 she made another series of
	monotypes, this time for Kafka's novel America. It was a difficult experience for Maranová,
	encountering a completely different and alien world, and it was in Kafka's America she
	found a description of a traumatic encounter with the New World - the arrival of young Karl
	Rossmann from Prague. Paradoxically, then, by illustrating another Kafka novel, she found
	a link with her earlier life and work. Later on, she started to focus on motifs from Kafka's
	The Castle, which also describes the feelings and situations of a person in an alien and
	incomprehensible world - the land surveyor K. Drawing upon a lifelong preoccupation with
	Kafka, Maranová drew the illustrations for a bibliophile edition of The Trial and The
	Castle (published by the Franklin Library, Philadelphia), for which in 1984 she received
	four awards from leading American graphic design and art associations.
	In the 1980s, Maranová also made watercolours, paintings and drawings of American and
	European landscapes, the most remarkable of which is a series of almost abstract drawings
	of the Bretagne coast (1982-85). Her style later became less direct, withdrawing more
	into the world of her imagination, memory and fantasy. In her last, unfinished series,
	which she worked on mainly in the 1990s, the central motifs from Kafka and Comenius are
	combined in the symbolic figure of a Jewish pilgrim, an outcast restlessly wandering
	through worlds and centuries with a pack on his back and a Torah scroll in his arms.
	Also appearing more frequently in her paintings are Prague clocks with numbers in Hebrew,
	running backward as if deeper and deeper into the past to the beginnings of Creation.
	Maranová is returning more and more to the Prague sources of her inspiration.

RETURN TO PRAGUE

	Due to her fate, Maranová was one of the first Czech artists who began to focus on
	the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in their work. She was also probably the only Czech
	artist to deal systematically and to such a scale with the works of Franz Kafka.
	An exhibition of her Kafka illustrations was held in 1965 at the Jewish Museum in Prague.
	She also exhibited at the museum in 1967 and 1970, when her show was for a long time one
	of the last exhibitions by a contemporary Jewish artist to be held here. She returned
	to the museum in 1993, presenting a large exhibition of work she had done in exile in
	the U.S.  Shortly later she took part in a large exhibition of work by exiled
	Czechoslovak artists at Klenová Castle and in Klatovy.  In 1995 her work was showcased
	at the exhibition Old Testament Motifs in 20th Century Czech Art at the Roudnice nad
	Labem Gallery of Modern Art and later in Karlovy Vary.  In 2002 her series of prints
	The Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart was featured at an exhibition for
	the 410th anniversary of the birth of J. A. Comenius at the Comenius Museum in
	Uherský Brod. At the beginning of 2003 her early work was shown at the exhibition
	Art is Abstraction: Czech Visual Culture of the 1960s, which was held in Prague, Brno,
	Olomouc and Munich.
	In 2006 Jarmila Maranová gave the Jewish Museum a collection of 54 of her earliest
	and most successful monotypes and lithographs, inspired by the works of Franz Kafka.
	On the occasion of her 86th birthday, this generous gift is now on display along with
	other work from the collections of the Jewish Museum, City of Prague Gallery and
	the Museum of Czech Literature at the Robert Guttmann Gallery. The main principles
	of Maranová's oeuvre already appeared in her first loosely rendered works and
	basically remained the same throughout her life - a focus on symbolic motifs and
	their free associations in an imaginary space, revealing a strong emotional
	experience hidden under the surface of reality. During her life she has had about
	35 one-person shows across the world, including in Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Bonn,
	Naarden, The Hague, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Toronto, Ohio and New York.
	Her last years  she was living in Sandpoint,  Idaho in a forested area near the
	Canadian border, where she enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the solitude in which
	she reencounters her friends and dreams.
        Jarmila Maranova died on October 25th, 2009