Jan and Meda Mládek Collection
The Jan and Meda Mládek collection is the core of Museum Kampa exhibition. Besides works by František Kupka, an “undesirable artist” during the communist era, there is a broad collection of other works by artists from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland that do not follow the official socialist style.
U Sovových mlýnů 503/2, 118 00 Praha 1 - Malá Strana, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
- Jan and Meda Mládek Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The Jan and Meda Mládek Collection was built step by step. The first works purchased by the couple were those by František Kupka. Jan Viktor Mládek, as well as his wife Meda Mládková (Sokolová), left Czechoslovakia before the year 1948. A deeper interest in the art of the second half of the twentieth century started towards the end of the 1960s. In 1968 the couple bought a broader collection from an exhibition of Czechoslovak art that took place in Washington. We might call this the founding moment of the collection. From then on, purchases were made not only from abroad, as they also visited the studios of Czechoslovak artists. Beginning in 1984, the Mládeks were not allowed to visit Czechoslovakia and that was the moment when they started to collect works of art from other eastern countries, mainly Yugoslavia, Poland and Hungary. When Jan Mládek died in 1989, Meda Mládková moved back to Czechoslovakia with the collection. From then on, the collection grew bigger. It gained works from the George Soros Collection and all the property became part of a new foundation. In 2003, the City of Prague rented a building, Sovovy Mlýny, to the foundation. Thus, Prague became an owner of one part of the collection. Currently, the collection contains about 2000 works, of which only a small part is the collection built before 1989 by the Mládeks. Other works were bought by the foundation or received as a gift.
Before 1989, the collection covered works by “unofficial” artists; however this was not the criteria for their purchase. Mládková bought works that spoke to her, those that she liked and suited her taste. Still, we might say that the artists represented by the collection were part of the unofficial scene, as they neither supported the official art programme defined by the union, nor worked in the style of socialist realism.
Although the collection before 1989 covered mainly figurative works and art dealing with the problematic human body, today the collection represents the history of the unofficial art of the second half of the twentieth century.
Description of content
The collection contains about 2000 works – paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, and photographs. Its political implications are more nuanced, and one of the reasons for this, according to the collection’s employee, is the fact that Czechoslovak art was not as political as works by Polish or Hungarian artists. The core of the collection was defined by the taste of Meda Mládková.
- graphics: 500-999
- other artworks (that cannot be classified by other filter categories such as paintings, sculptures, graphics, etc.): 100-499
- paintings: 500-999
- sculptures: 100-499
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
- Museum Kampa, Meda Mládková, and Jiří Machalický. 2009. Sbírky Musea Kampa = The Museum Kampa Collection. [Praha]: Museum Kampa - Nadace Jana a Medy Mládkových.
Author(s) of this page
- Lomová, Johana
Museum Kampa, Meda Mládková, and Jiří Machalický. 2009. Sbírky Musea Kampa = The Museum Kampa Collection. [Praha]: Museum Kampa - Nadace Jana a Medy Mládkových.
Průša, Sandra , interview by Lomová, Johana , September 22, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection