During the late 1800s, many women artists flocked to Paris from all around the world.
The environment in France was more welcoming to women professionals than many other countries at the time, and some of the most celebrated international women artists began their impressive careers at the art academies in France. One such artist is Zdenka Braunerová, a Prague-born artist who traveled to Paris in 1881 to pursue a career in art at the Colarossi Academy.
Zdenka Braunerová had been born into a wealthy family and began painting at an incredibly young age. Her parents were happy to fund her interest, bringing her to study with the talented landscape painter Amalie Mánesová. Braunerová was further encouraged while studying at an all-girls school in Prague under the painter Soběslav Pinkas. Despite her family’s encouragement to pursue art as a hobby, they were hesitant to have her engage with painting as a career.
Passion for art
Of course, like many of the young women who traveled to Paris, Braunerová was overtaken with a passion for art and continued to study it regardless of what her parents wanted from her. Braunerová focused on landscape and historical paintings in her early career, genres typically more accessible to women at the time. However, as Braunerová’s career matured, she also became enamored with graphic arts and book art. This included painting glass and illustrating many books such as Vilém Mrštík’s, Pohádka máje (May Fairytale).
While Braunerová resided in Paris for many years, she still loved her Czech heritage and spent her time between Paris and Prague. She even took on the role of a Czech cultural leader in France, organizing several exhibitions and sharing other parts of Czech culture with the French. It was upon her encouragement that the sculptor Auguste Rodin, who was a close friend of hers, traveled to the Czech Republic to experience our beautiful country.
Zdenka Braunerová had a long career as an artist in both France and the Czech Republic. Some of her career highlights include a woman’s show on the Champs Elysée and Salon on the Champs de Mars. She received many international awards from all around Europe, especially for her later work in the graphic arts. In the Czech Republic, she worked hard on maintaining historical houses and used her graphic art skills to depict historical Prague.
In the early 20th century, Braunerová built herself a studio in Roztoky, right outside of Prague, finally returning to her home country. Surrounded by nature, Braunerová continued working on what she loved until her death in 1934. Today, the studio has been restored to its beautiful 1910 appearance that remains open for visitors.
You can visit the studio here.
Featured image is in Public Domain