Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

Bratislava as Seen by Karl Frech | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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Before 1975, the City Gallery of Bratislava had its seat in the premises of the Primatial Palace.


Bratislava as Seen by Karl Frech

Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
15. 4. 2011 - 12. 6. 2011
Curator: Patrícia Ballx

The exhibition “Bratislava as Seen by Karl Frech” has been prepared as part of the 8th annual event “Bratislava for All”. The Bratislava City Gallery has been participating in this project since the very beginning by organising exhibitions focused on the history, sights or subjects from the city and the region of Bratislava. This year the gallery presents the exhibition of a painter and graphic artist Karl Hugo Frech (1883 – 1945), native of the south-west Germany, who moved in 1914 to Bratislava and spent more than half of his life here.

“Man muss wirklich als Fremder in diese alte Stadt kommen, um zu sehen, wie schön sie ist“ /

One must really arrive at this old town as a stranger to see how beautiful it is.”

   (Karl Frech: Aus meinem Leben. 25th January 1942, excerpt from the article in Grenzboten)

Karl Hugo Frech was born on 9th September 1883 in Stuttgart-Gaisburg, Germany. As a child he was fascinated by painting and drawing, which became his favourite subject at school. Karl Frech studied lithography at G.F. Schreiber Art Institute in Esslingen. Between 1903 and 1905 he attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Stuttgart, where he later worked as an illustrator and graphic artist. He also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe under Hans Thom, however, he terminated his studies prematurely. For a short time he lived in Esslingen and then he travelled around Europe (Sweden, Italy). In 1914 he married and moved to Bratislava, where he spent most of his life. He made his living as a painter and a graphic artist; he was also member of the Pressburger Kunstverein. He contributed illustrations to Bratislava newspapers Pressburger Zeitung and Grenzboten and participated in illustrating various books or albums of prints with the subject of Bratislava (e.g. by Karl Benyovszký). Karl Frech died on 27 July 1945 near Austrian town Steyr when escaping from Bratislava during the displacement of Germans from Czechoslovakia. His grave can be found in the small town of Sankt Ulrich, Austria.

His numerous tempera and oil paintings, prints as well as sketches and drawings represent an accurate topographic record of the city atmosphere. With the precise depiction and picturesque, the familiar and unknown places give us an image of the former romantic nature and the history of this old town.

The selection of works presented in the exhibition comes from the period of 1914 – 1945. The comparison of different subjects, techniques and views of picturesque places acquaint us with the “genius loci” of the city and shows us “Bratislava as seen by Karl Frech”.

Patrícia Ballx


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