František Kupka

Born 1871, Opočno, Czech Republic

Died 1957, Puteaux, France


1887   Begins training as an artist at the Prague academy under Frantisek Sequens.

1891   Kupka transfers to the academy in Vienna, working under Professor Eisenmenger.

1894   Travels to London and Scandinavia.

1895   Settles in Paris, working with caricature and drawing to make fashion designs, drafts for posters and illustrations for books and satirical magazines.

1905   Moves to Puteaux in the suburbs of Paris and meets Jacques Villon.

1910-1911   Villon introduces Kupka to a circle of painters (“Section d’Or”) including Marcel Duchamp, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger, and Francis Picabia.  This circle focuses on the form issues encountered by Cubists and Futurists and the connections between music and painting.  During this time, Kupka’s work moves from Jugendstil to Abstraction, and he became the first artist in France to finally abandon natural form.    

1912   First exhibition of Section d’Or at the Paris autumn salon, where Kupka exhibits his abstract Orphism pictures.

1914   Voluntarily enrolls for front-line duty at the Somme.

1918   Accepts a post as a guest professor in Prague.

1931   Co-founds “Abstraction-Création” with Jean Arp, Jean Hélion, Auguste Herbin, Georges Valmier and Georges Vantongerloo.  Participates in many significant exhibitions during this time in Paris at the “Jeu de Paume” museum.

1946   After liberation he returns to Puteaux.  For his 75th birthday, his first major retrospective takes place in Prague.

1955   Participates in “documenta I” in Kassel.

1958   A year after his death, a large-scale retrospective exhibition takes place at the “Musée d’Art Moderne” in Paris, where an entire room is dedicated to him.