Anna Zemánková

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Anna Zemánková

Anna Zemánková (23 August 1908 – 15 January 1986) was a self-taught Czech painter, draftswoman and pastel artist. Her work was featured in a group show at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1979, and eighteen of her pieces were shown at the Venice Biennale in 2013.[1]


Zemánková enjoyed drawing as a girl. She for a time had a career as a dental technician. She married army officer Bohumir Zemanek in 1933. In 1948, she moved to Prague with her husband, where she became a housewife and cared for their natural and adopted children.[2] Suffering from an unhappy marriage, a lack of direction once her children were grown, and the long-term effects of the death of her first-born son in 1939, Zemánková endured long periods of depression throughout the 1950s.

To combat her depression, Zemánková's second son, Bohumil Zemánek, a sculptor, suggested she try drawing.[3] At the age of fifty-two, she started creating "swirling, luminous drawings" which evolved into a "repertoire of abstracted floral and insectlike forms set against flat, softly atmospheric backgrounds."[4] Although some have argued she was in some sort of trance state as she worked in the early morning hours, Zemánková herself spoke only of an unpremeditated process: "There was no need to reflect or erase--the drawing drew itself in a very delightful manner."[3]

Later in life, both of Zemánková's legs had to be amputated due to complications from diabetes.[5]


  1. ^ Good Luck Gallery. "Anna Zemánková". Archived from the original on 2017-06-09.
  2. ^ "Anna Zemánková".
  3. ^ a b Steinhoff, Eirik (2003). "A note on Anna Zemankova". Chicago Review. 49 (2): 64 – via Gale Academic OneFile.
  4. ^ Borum, Janifer P. (December 1999). "Anna Zemankova". Artforum International: 150 – via Gale Academic OneFile.
  5. ^ "Anna Zemánková".

External links[edit]

Cavin-Morris Gallery. Selected Anna Zemánková paintings and CV.