Thursday, 24 April 2014

Culture collector, patron and promoter Neumannová dies

21 January 2013

Prague, Jan 18 (CTK) - Vera Neumannova, Czech art collector, patron and promoter, who donated a unique collection of drawings and prints by Czech art nouveau painter Alfons Mucha to the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM) in 2012, died on January 16, aged 86, the UMP told CTK referring to her family.

The gift relates to the Lord's Prayer, in which Mucha (1860-1939) originally interprets the Christian prayer.

Mucha illustrated the prayer and also proposed the script and graphic layout of the book of the same name that reflects his thinking at the time.

It combines his childhood Catholic education, the influence of then streams of thought, such as theosophy and occultism, as well as the Freemasonry.

The unique piece of book culture was first published in Paris in 1899. The UPM gained it for good for its collections last November.

Neumannova came from Prague. During World War Two she studied at Bata's School of Labour in Zlin, south Moravia.

In 1948 she married Lotar Neumann and they left abroad. In Venezuela Lotar Neumann built up a prospering firm producing dyes. Thanks to the capital he made they could found and run a school for children from the poorest strata and later collect arts.

In 1962 they moved to Switzerland where they were building their art collection, particularly art-nouveau glass, paintings and drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Mucha's drawings and posters.

In 1973 they bought out a set of Mucha's works related to the Lord's Prayer that was sold to various buyers in an auction one year earlier.

After her husband's death in 1992, Neumannova founded the Fondation Neumann foundation that managed an own gallery and staged exhibitions of Czech and European art.

The foundation presented a set of Mucha's preparatory drawings for the Lord's Prayer in Prague in 2002.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg presented Neumannova with the Gratias Agit prize in appreciation of her promotion of Czech culture abroad and support to Czech state collections in 2008.

Czech foreign ministers started to bestow Gratias Agit on people who have contributed to the good name of "the Czech hands and ideas" in 1997.

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