A tribute to Otakar Lebeda

Otakar Lebeda - Horské oko v Krkonoších

The pictures of the glacial lakes in the Krkonoše mountains on the border of Czech Republic and Poland were painted by Otakar Lebeda (1877 – 1901) during his last trip in September 1896. He was only 19 years old at the time.
Both canvases are too detailed to be completed in one sitting. So he had to either return to the spots or finish them from memory somewhere else. Strolling around the peaks of the Krkonoše Mountains with equipment for painting certainly required determination and physical fitness.

Small and Great Lakes can be found today on the Polish side of the mountains. Lebeda portrayed them several times and always chose an unusual view from above into the depth. A realistic record of the steep rocky slopes falling to the water surface of the Little Lake was painted not far from the trail, which can still be followed today. However you will not be able to see the view on the other painting of the Great Lake, unless you break the rules of the National Park and walk off the trail. Of course I don’t recommend doing that.

Otakar Lebeda, Horské oko v Krkonoších, 1896, NGP, Oil on canvas, 78 × 98 cm

In June 1897, Lebeda graduated at the landscape studio of Julius Mařák at the Prague Academy, where he was considered to be one of the most talented students. Four years later, he prematurely ended his life and promising career with a shot from a revolver. The cause was depression and physical exhaustion.
On the level of considerations, it can be argued that if he had not done this and continued to paint in a similar spirit, then today he could be considered the greatest of Mařák’s students.

Otakar Lebeda, Velké jezero v Krkonoších, 1896, NGP, oil on canvas, 78 × 98 cm

Paintings of mountain lakes are among my favorites by Lebeda. A few years ago, during a visit to the same mountains, I decided to make my own version. The painting is an acknowledged tribute.

Tomas Honz, Maly Staw (Tribute to Lebeda), Oil on canvas, 65x75cm, 2019 (2024 revision)

What's coming in 2024?

2023 is behind us. It has been a beautiful if not a bit strange year for me. Much work has been done though and a way more is coming in 2024. So I thought I would share a glimpse of what to look forward to.
  • From the end of April, a solo exhibition in the Rabas gallery in Rakovník.
  • In May, a joint exhibition with a fellow painter Zdenek Daňek in the Gallery 9 in Prague.
  • A group exhibition in the Kooperativa gallery in Prague is under discussion.
  • I’m looking forward to three residencies this year. Taiwan in March, Italy in June and Austria in September.
  • There’s also one secret thing related to the caves in Romania. But more on that later.
  • and maybe finally a biographical book that I’ve been working on? 🙂

And so I will look forward to meeting you and I promise I won’t back down.
Anyway, I wish you much joy, abundance and inspiration in the 2024,