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Josef Vydra as we know and do not know him

by Nora Čechmánková

Josef Vydra (1884 – 1959) was an art historian, ethnographer, professor, a founder of several remarkable institutions and societies and the author of 250+ magazines and books. He studied art history at the Charles University and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He was a teacher of art education at various grammar schools until 1914. Thanks to outstanding results in the development of drawing methodology, Vydra was delegated to represent the Czechoslovak pedagogy at the international events between 1912 and 1937. He was a permanent member of organising committees for international art education and applied arts congresses in England, France, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. He was named an executive assistant for visual art and folk art under the government commissariat in Bratislava in 1918 and worked as an expert supervisor for grammar and other secondary schools between 1923 and 1930. Vydra studied art history and ethnography at the Comenius University in Bratislava between 1922 and 1925. He was a founder and since 1930, the director of the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava. Vydra lectured on the art education theory at the educational faculty in Olomouc and the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (history of costume), the Czech Republic and the educational faculty, and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (folk visual art) in Bratislava, Slovakia in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Josef Vydra was among the pioneers in the art theory of industrial art and folk art fields that interested him included folk textile, weaving and knitting techniques, embroidery, lace making, folk construction and ceramics. He made numerous trips to discover folk art and loved taking pictures of it, mainly between 1923 and 1950. The pictures refer to then-alive traditions, folk costumes, folk wooden architecture, various working acts and folk makers during work. All photos Vydra had made were made using glass negative technique.





Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 04/2012:


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