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Artlist — Center for Contemporary Arts Prague

Anna Zemánková

First Name
Birth place
art brut
CSU Library
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About artist

Clearly the best known Czech proponent of art brut, Zemánková trained as a dentist and worked as one until the birth of her child. Before getting married she had dabbled in landscapes, but never integrated this interest into her later work. She was almost fifty when she began this late oeuvre, her three children now grown up. Her life lost the fixed contours which had always been directly linked to the family. It was her sons, seeing that she was irascible, disgruntled and existentially dissatisfied, who persuaded her to take up art after finding pictures from her youth in the attic.


In her first tempera paintings Zemánková attempted to capture the beauty of real plants, though copying reality was not in her blood. She preferred to work with impressions held in her memory, which she supplemented with her first phantasmagorical elements. Very quickly she liberated her huge imagination, which poured out pictures previously hidden in the unconscious. Even though her flowers were often transformed into animal-like forms, she remained true to the basic principles of the plant world – they grew from somewhere, they grow flowers, they yield fruit. The most varied pleasing and unpleasing feelings are expressed in plant form, the artist’s internal message.

She would start work early in the morning, when automatic gestures would give the first form to the future picture. During the day she clarified matters and added hundreds if not thousands of repetitive details. Over the years her paintings became more and more subtle, ethereal, dematerialised. Her compound flowers are reminiscent of a glowing flare heading upwards. They are a metaphor of her desire to break free of burdensome physicality and to attain a transcendental dimension. “From the Depths Upwards” is the title of one of her pivotal works, and could stand as the principle of the whole of her output.


Zemánková selected her technique relatively impulsively. She often used kitchen oil to make her pastels more transparent. She added ink and ball-point pen to tempera and pastels. In her later work she used perforations, pressure, embroidery, crocheted objects, work with textile and paper collages, and added artificial diamonds, pearls and sequins to her drawings. In doing so she was drawing on the principle of bricolage characteristic of art brut. Every element had its symbolic meaning and was another step in the direction of attaining the coveted beauty and perfection, which was to outdo that created by nature. The creative act remained for Anna Zemánková a magic ritual and the meaning of life. Thanks to her internal tranquillity she overcame difficult circumstances which fate threw at her, for instance her diabetes and the resulting amputation of her leg.

Author of the annotation
Terezie Zemánková




Solo exhibitions
Galerie Havelka, Praha
Cavin-Morris gallery, New York, USA
Sardine collée au mur, Ženeva, Švýcarsko

Květy vášně Anny Zemánkové, galerie Na palubě, Olomouc
Magické vize Evy Dropové a Anny Zemánkové, Galerie X, Bratislava, Slovensko

Anna Zemánková: Plants of dreams, Colon books exhibition, Tokyo

Anna Zemánková, Galerie Susanne Zander, Köln am Rhein
Anna Zemánková, Galerie Hamer, Amsterdam

L’art brut: Anna Zemánková, Tschechisches Zentrum, Wien
Anna Zemánková, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York

1998 -1999
Oinirické vize Anny Zemánkové MU Olomouc, GVU Litoměřice, GVU Cheb, galerie Klenová

Drawings by Anna Zemánková, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York

Exotic Species: The art of Anna Zemánková, High museum of art, Atlanta

The Lark of Exaltation: Mediumistic Drawings by Anna Zemánková,Cavin- Morris Gallery, New York
Bohumil Zemánek a paní Zemánková Špálova galerie, Praha; Moravská galerie, Brno

Paní Zemánková, pastely, GVU, Cheb

Labyrinty fantazie (+ C. Marková), Divadlo hudby Olomouc

Fantaskní tvorba paní Zemánkové, Divadlo hudby, Olomouc

Anna Zemánková, barevné kresby, Divadlo Na zábradlí, Praha

1964, 1967, 1968, 1970
Dny otevřených dveří, Praha
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Umělci čistého srdce II. Pocta Anně Zemánkové, Galerie souboru lidové architektury, Příkazy u Olomouce
Art brut, collection abcd, Museum of Moderm Art, Shiga, Japonsko
Art brut v českých zemích / mediumici, solitéři, psychotici, Muzeum umění Olomouc

Ze hlubin vzhůru vizionářky československého art brut, INSITA 2007,, SNG, Bratislava

Inner Worlds Outside, Sala de exposiciones de la Fundación „La Caixa“, Madrid
Whitechapel gallery, London
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Malé radosti, sbírka Dany a Pavla Konečných, Galerie Jiřího Jílka, Šumperk
art brut, sbírka abcd, GHMP, dům U Kamenného zvonu, Praha

Le chant des sirènes, l’automatisme dans l’art brut, abcd la galerie, Montreuil
Passion and Action, abcd une collection d’art brut, House of Shiseido, Tokyo

Tsjechische L´art brut tchèque, Musée d´Art spontané, Centre tchèque, Brusel
A corps perdu. abcd, une collection d’art brut, Pavillone des arts, Paris
Syrové umění, sbírka Jana a Evy Švankmajerových, Moravská galerie v Brně
Galerie Klatovy/ Klenová

abcd, une collection d’art brut, Kunstmesse Köln, Köln am Rhein
Vernacular Visionaires: International Outsider art, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe
Umelci čistého srdca Artists of pure heart, Galéria insitného umenia SNG, Schaumbarov mlyn, Pezinok
abcd, a collection of art brut, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago

Eight From Europe: A Study Collection, The Center For Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago
Divočina příroda, duše, jazyk, Klenová
L’Art Brut Tchèque, Halle St. Pierre, Paris
abcd a collection of art brut, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan;
High Museum of art, Atlanta;
Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, Orlando

Prague­‑gnosis: Anna Zemánková and Jindřich Vik, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery,
New York
The Anthony Petullo Collection of Outsider and Visionary Art, John Michael Kohler
Art Center, Sheboygan
Umělci čistého srdce /Artists of pure heart sbírka Pavla Konečného, Muzeum umění Olomouc
Keeping the Faith: Works by Self­‑Taught Artists, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery,
New York
Donations Recents, Collection de l’art brut, Lausanne
ABCD a collection of art brut, Museum of American Folk Art, New York

Tschechischer Surrealismus und Art Brut zum Ende des Jahrtausends, Palffy palace, Wien
Folies de la Beauté: Collection composée par B. Decharme, Campredon, Isle­‑sur­‑la­‑Sorgue
European Self­‑Taught Art Brut or Naive?, Gallery St. Etienne, New York
Visionary Grace: Works by Self­‑Taught Artists, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich
Zrcadlo srdce, zrcadlo duše výběr z české insitní tvorby, SGVU, Cheb SVGU, Litoměřice
Ignoring Borders: New Artists, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York
Quirky, Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
INSITA 2000, SNG, Bratislava
Art without precedent: Nine Artists from the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Irish museum of modern Art, Dublin

E­‑scapes: Power of Place, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery,
New York
Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire: Messages d´outre­‑ monde, Halle saint­‑Pierre, Paris

L’art brut umění v původním (surovém) stavu, Galerie hl. m. Prahy dům U Kamenného zvonu, Praha
Art unsolved: The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
From the Heart to the Hand: New Ancient Ideas by Self­‑ Taught Artists, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York

INSITA 97, SNG, Bratislava
Het Format, Museum de Stadshof, Zwolle

Colectie Arnulf Rainer, Museum de Stadshof, Zwolle
International Works on paper, Janet Fleisher Gallery, Philadelphia
Difficult Women, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York
In Pursuit of the invisible: The Collection of Mickey Cartin, The Sue and Eugene Mercy Jr. Gallery; The Richmond Art Center, The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor

Art Brut et Compagnie, Halle St. Pierre, Paříž
Pure, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York

Slovenská národní galerie, Bratislava
Visionary Women, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York

New Discoveries: Self­‑Taught Artists, Cavin­‑Morris Gallery, New York

Outsider art exhibition, Alpha Cubic Gallery, Tokyo

Outsider art from Outsider archive, Shoin, Kyoto

Stoke on Trent, Bristol, Manchester
In Another World: Outsider art from Europe and America, London; Hull; Sheffield

Bienale, Sao Paulo

Outsiders, Hayward Gallery, London

Naivní umění, Památník národního písemnictví, Praha

Ausseirdische Botschaften von Bois­‑Vives zu Zemánková, Mainz

Acrochage del piccolo quadro, Capelle, Firenze­‑Settimelto

Twaalf naieve et fantastische schilders uit Tjekoslowakie, Amsterodam
12 pittori naifs e fantastici popolari della Cecoslovacchia, Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze

Rusalka vystupující z tůně, Dům umění, Brno

Obrazy prostého srdce, Ústí nad Labem, Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Vysoké Mýto
Oblastní galerie výtvarného umění v Litoměřicích, ČR
Muzeum umění Olomouc, ČR
Slovenská národná galéria, Slovensko
L’Aracine, Musée d’art moderne de Villeneuve d‘Ascq, Francie
Collection de l‘Art Brut, Lausanne, Švýcarsko
Musée de la création franche, Bègles, Francie
De Stadshof, Museum voor naive kunst en outsider art, Zwolle, Holandsko
Outsider Archive, Irish Museum of Modern art, Dublin, Irsko
Museum Charlotte Zander, Bönningheim, Německo
Milwaukee Art museum, Milwaukee, USA
Philadelphia Museum of art, Philadelphia, USA
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, USA
abcd collection, Paris, Francie
The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Londýn, Velká Británie
Dow Jones, New York, USA
The Anthony Petullo Collection of Self-Taught and Outsider art, Milwaukee, USA
Sammulung Arnulf Rainer, Vídeň, Rakousko
Sbírka Evy a Jana Švankmajerových, ČR
Sbírka Dany a Pavla Konečných, ČR
Sbírka Jiřího Anderleho, ČR
Sbírka Milady a Antona Kollárových, ČR



Hrabal, B.: Album deset naivních kreseb, Olomouc, Divadlo hudby 1978

Musgrave, V.; Cardinal R.: Outsiders: an Art Without Precedent of Traditions, London, Arts Council of GB 1979

Konečný, P.: Fantaskní tvorba Anny Zemánkové, Olomouc, Divadlo hudby 1980

Nádvorníková, A.: Labyrinty fantazie, Olomouc, Divadlo hudby 1982

Pohribný, A.: Cahier de l’Art Brut 14, Lausanne, Collection de l‘art brut 1986

Kinley, M.; Willing, V.; McLagan, D.: In Another World: Outsider Art from Europe and America, South Bank Centre 1987

Kinley, M.: Outsider Art from Outsider Archive, Kyoto, Artrandom 1989

Kinley, M.: Outsider Art Exhibition, Tokyo, Alpha Cubic Gallery 1990

Vykoukal, J.: Paní Zemánková, Cheb, GVU 1990

Kříž, J.: Bohumil Zemánek a paní Zemánková, Praha, Špálova galerie 1993

INSITA, Bratislava, SNG 1994

Maizels, J.; Cardinal, R.: Raw creation: Outsider art and beyond, London, Phaidon 1996

Cartin, M.: In pursuit of the invisible: The collection of Mickey Cartin, West Stockbridge 1996

Fiselier S.; Meijer, S.: Collectie Arnulf Rainer, Zwolle, Museum De Stadshof, 1996

INSITA, Bratislava, SNG 1997

Burkhart, K.: Outsider Art: An Exploration of Chicago Collections, Chicago 1997

Monnin, F.: L’art Brut, Paris, Éditions Scala 1997

Nádvorníková, A.: L’art brut: umění v původním (surovém) stavu, Praha, GHMP 1998

Thompson, J.; Ades, D., McConagle, D.; Marshall, C.: Art unsolved: The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art 1998

Pohribný, A.: Oinirické vize Anny Zemánkové, Muzeum umění Olomouc 1998

Collection Charlotte Zander, Bönningheim, Museum Charlotte Zander 1999

Lommel, M.: L‘Aracine et l‘Art Brut, Z‘éditions 1999

Cardinal, R., Lusardy, M., Eds: Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire: Messages d‘autre-monde, Paris: Halle St. Pierre, 1999

INSITA, Bratislava: SNG, 2000

Nádvorníková, A.: Tschechischer Surrealismus und Art Brut zum Ende des Jahrtausends, Vídeň: Prager Kulturatage in Wien, 2000

team of authors: Outsider art, Japan, 2000

team of authors: abcd: une collection d‘art brut, Arles: Actes Sud/abcd, 2000

Colin, R.: Outsider art: Spontaneous Alternatives, London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 2000

Kallir, J.: The Anthony Petullo Collection of Outsider and Visionary Art, University of Illinois Press, 2001

Konečný, P.: Umělci čistého srdce: Naivní a lidové umění, art brut, Olomouc: MU, 2001

Thévoz, M.; Peiry L.: Collection de l‘art brut, Lausanne: Musées Suisses, 2001

Lusardy, M.; Nádvorníková, A., Eds: L‘Art Brut tchèque, Paris : Halle St. Pierre, 2002

Maizels, J.: Raw vision Outsider Art Sourcebook, Radlett: Raw vision Ltd., 2002

Nádvorníková, A.: Tsjechische L´art brut tchèque, Brusel: Musée d´Art spontané, Centre tchèque, 2003

Zemánková, T.: Anna Zemánková, Praha: abcd, 2003

Carlano, A., Ed: Vernacular visionaires: International Outsider art, Santa Fe: Museum of International Folk Art, 2003

Dryje, Fr., Ed: Syrové umění, sbírka Jana a Evy Švankmajerových, Praha: Arbor vitae, galerie Klatovy/Klenová, 2004

Gille, V., Decharme, B., Eds: A corps perdu. abcd, une collection d’art brut, Paris: Paris musées, 2004

Decharme, B., Ed: Le chant des sirènes, l’automatisme dans l’art brut, Paris: abcd, 2005

Decharme, B., Šafářová, B., Zemánková, T., Eds: abcd, sbírka art brut, Praha: abcd, 2006

Cardinal, R. a kol., Eds: Inner worlds outside, Dublin: Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006

Čierna, K., Ed: INSITA 2007, Bratislava: SNG, 2007


Pohribný, A.: Svět Anny Zemánkové, In: Výtvarná práce, 1966, č. 7

Pohribný, A.: A time for Longing, In: Universum, 1968, č. 2

anonym: Jak vzniká obraz, In: Zdravotnická pracovnice, 1973

Cardinal, R.: The art of entrancement, In: Raw vision, 1989/90, č. 2

Farb-Hernandez, J.: The drawings of Anna Zemánková, In: Raw vision, 1996, č. 14

Pohribný, A.: Visions oiniriques d’Anna Zemánková, In : Bulletin de l‘Association Les Amis de

Français, OZENDA, No 64, 1999

Pohribný, A.: Interview s Jiřím Vykoukalem: Anna Zemánková, In: Atelier, č. 2, 1999

Pohribný, A.: Nevšední vize Anny Zemánkové, In: Svoboda, 01.1999

Johnson, K.: Anna Zemankova, In: The New York Times, 8.10. 1999,

Kováč, P.: Zemánková, Kupka druhé poloviny století, In: Právo, 16.11.1999

Borum, J.: Anna Zemánková, In: Artforum, No. 4, Vol. 38 prosinec, 1999

Lanoux, J.-L., Entretien avec Terezie Zemánková, In: Création franche, no. 22, prosinec 2002

Zemánková, T.: Anna Zemánková: The flowers of passion, In: Folk Art magazine, zima 2004/2005

Zemánková, T.: Anna Zemánková, Raw vision, no. 55, 2005

Vokolek, V.: Obrazy jiných světů, In: Ateliér, no.2, 2009

Bystrovová, M.: Znepokojivé květiny s „erotikou vesmíru“,In: Lidové noviny,23.1. 2009


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