*1871 in Opočno, Austria-Hungary
†1957 in Puteaux, France
František Kupka was a highly influential Czech artist, who pioneered the early phases of the global abstract art movement. Kupka studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, followed by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna before moving to Paris in 1896. The Parisian artistic environment proved influential for the young artist as he was inspired by the Fauvist and Neo-Impressionist contemporary movements, meanwhile he published cartoons for magazines to support himself. In 1906, he exhibited for the first time with the Salon d’Automne – alongside Metzinger, Csaky, Picabia and Modigliani – exploring the principles and relationships between shape and color. His highly individual abstraction resisted categorization, though the Salon de Independants included him in the Cubist room of their exhibitions and Apollinaire included him in his treaty on Orphism. Later in 1931, to combat the tendencies towards representational art in the then-contemporary surrealism, Kupka becomes a founding member of the Abstraction-Création group which was founded by Georges Vantongerloo with the help of artists as famous as Theo Van Doesburg, Jean Arp, and Naum Gabo. Kupka exhibited widely in New York and across Europe for the rest of his life and donated over five-hundred works to the Museum of Modern Art in New York before his death. Kupka’s paintings are held by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.