Vojtěch Kovařík - Modern & Contemporary Art: Evening & Day Sale London Thursday, June 27, 2024 | Phillips
  • “[…] my human body study has degenerated into a kind of obsession with absurdity.”
    —Vojtěch Kovařík
    Pensive and sincere, as if caught in a moment of quiet reflection and paused in silent thought, Vojtěch Kovařík re-interprets classical subjects to create modern, personal mythologies. With his monumental and strikingly statuesque protagonists Kovařík questions prevailing classical literary and pictorial archetypes, combining supra-human scale with tender expression, endowing his robust, weighty protagonists with strength and softness. 


    Initially trained in ceramics and sculpture before embarking on his more instinctive, radical combinations of oil, acrylic and spray paint, the artist's immediately recognisable and Herculean figures are informed by a range of influences encompassing Greek mythology, Soviet art, and pop culture. Kovařík’s interest in the realms of gods and fantastical beasts began during his youth, regularly travelling to Greece during the summer where his father recited to him the mythic tales of Eduard Petiška's Ancient Greek Myths and Legends. Born amidst the ruins of the USSR in the Czech Republic, Kovařík combines the bold, graphic forms of Social Realism with other disparate sources such as ‘movies, music, heroes, monsters and animals […] film noir posters, mistakes, everyday life’, creating a distinctly new iconographic subject.i


    The Sleeping Ariadne, 2nd Century B.C., Vatican Museums, Vatican City. Image: Wknight94 / Wikipedia

    Unlike the triumphant virility of archetypal classical form, the figure here appears aware of their sheer physicality and sculptural mass, their accentuated limbs tightly confined within the limits of the composition. Rendered in a cool palette and strikingly elegant, the figure sits with their head on their hand, exaggerating the long curve of their neck. In unconventionally rehumanising figures from antiquity, reconsidering masculine tropes, and dismantling European grand narratives, Kovařík mobilises paints to revisit history and create legends of the present day. 


    Collector’s Digest 


    • Represented by Mendes Wood DM and Galerie Derouillon, Vojtěch Kovařík's immense, symbolic characters re-imagine collective cultural ideologies and identities. 

    • The young Czech artist has garnered international recognition and acclaim, and is included in significant permanent collections like Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami and National Gallery of Victoria, among many others. 

    • Kovařík’s solo exhibition recently opened at the Museum Kampa, Prague and is on view until 8th September 2024.


    i Vojtěch Kovařík, quoted in Format Team, ‘Spotlight on Vojtěch Kovařík’, Format Magazine, 5 September 2018, online.

    • Provenance

      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Milan, MASSIMODECARLO, Portraiture One Century Apart, 1 July-6 August 2021

Property of an Important Private Collection


In the Baths

signed, titled and dated 'VOJTECH KOVARIK "IN THE BATHS" MMXXI' on the reverse; partially titled 'BATHS' on the stretcher
acrylic on canvas
200 x 250 cm (78 3/4 x 98 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2021.

Full Cataloguing

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Sold for £196,850

Contact Specialist

Louise Simpson
Associate Specialist
+44 7887 473 568

Modern & Contemporary Art: Evening & Day Sale

London Auction 27 June 2024