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Josef Koudelka (Czech, b.1938)
LOT ID: 77898
Portugal, 1979

Silver Print, Gelatin silver print
21 х 14 in. (53.34 x 35.56 cm.)
Signed, recto, in ink.
Lot description
Image size is 21 x 14 inches (53.3 x35.6 cm). Paper size is 24 x 19.6 inches (61 x 49.8 cm).

Josef Koudelka (b. 1938) began his photography career by taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate in the 1960's. In August 1968, Koudelka witnessed and photographed the Soviet invasion of Prague, as the military forces of the Warsaw Pact invaded crushed the Czech reforms. Fortunately, his negatives were smuggled out of Prague and given to the Magnum agency. They were published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer). In 1969 the "anonymous Czech photographer" was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographs requiring exceptional courage. To escape Prague, he fled to England in 1970, where he applied for political asylum and stayed for more than a decade. In 1971, he joined Magnum Photos. Koudelka continued to exhibit major projects such as "Gypsies" (1975) and "Exiles" (1988). He returned to Czechoslovakia for the first time in 1991, and produced "Black Triangle," documenting his country's wasted landscape. Koudelka has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Koudelka has an ability to capture the endurance of the human spirit. Comon themes in his work include desolation, waste, despair and alienation- but also hope. His later work focuses on dark landscapes absent of human subjects.
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Portugal by Josef Koudelka
  • Portugal by Josef Koudelka
  • Portugal by Josef Koudelka
  • Portugal by Josef Koudelka
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