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Jan Matulka

Vlachovo Brezi, Bohemia 1890

New York, New York 1972

Active in:

  • Paris, France
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts


Painter, printmaker. Brought to the United States from Bohemia at the age of sixteen, Matulka studied at the National Academy of Design from 1911 to 1916. The next year he was awarded a Joseph Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship, which enabled him to tour the American Southwest. While in New Mexico and Arizona, he frequented Indian dances and studied the art, ceremonies, and customs of the Pueblo tribes. Like other modernist-inclined painters of the post-Armory Show era, Matulka was drawn by the romantic appeal of the Indian and Hispanic cultures of the Southwest, subjects he translated into stylized geometric drawings and paintings. As an influential teacher during the twenties and thirties, he transmitted modernist precepts to many American art students who gained prominence in succeeding decades.

Lowenbach, Jan V., and Isaac Kloomok. Matulka. New York: A.C.A. Gallery, 1944.

Kramer, Hilton, "The Pictorial Styles of Jan Matulka." New York Times, 30 October 19701, sec. 2, p.1.

National Collection of Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Jan Matulka 1890–1972.

Charles Eldredge, Julie Schimmel, and William H. Truettner Art in New Mexico, 1900–1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1986)