Karel Malich

Karel Malich

Born October 18 1924, Holice v Čechách
Lived in Prague (1945)
Died October 24 2019

A significant Czech painter from the second half of the 20th century, he was a graphic artist, illustrator and creator of spatial installations. He translated his innermost feelings for natural landscape into the form of wire sculptures and drawings, which represent his unmistakable style, sensitively capturing simple events and relationships around us.
(Olga Staníková)

painting, drawing, graphics, illustration, object, installation


He initially studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under prof. Vladimír Silovský. The class, known as special graphic studio, was attended by other outstanding personalities of that time (Dalibor Chatrný, Aleš Veselý and Jaroslav Šerých), whose works are very similar in style



After completing his studies, he married Dagmar Žižková (divorced in 1955) and he started to exhibit with the Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists.


III. Show of Czechoslovak Fine Arts (group exhibition, Prague)


He married Hana Hrochová, they had a daughter Kateřina (*1961).


He concentrated on depicting landscape based on motifs from around Holice and surroundings (Kamenec Hill and the path to the cemetery), but also the periphery of Prague. He created a vast set of paintings in bright tempera colours as well as etchings in which he summarised shapes down to basic geometric symbols. He became a member of the Hollar Association and he was represented at the Umění mladých výtvarníků Československa / Art of Young Artists of Czechoslovakia exhibition. Besides graphics and graphic design he intensely engaged in painting in his new studio on Nitranská street, Vinohrady, Prague.
The Funeral
The Funeral (drawing)


Was member of Proměna
The Group Transformation (group exhibition, Prague)
4. Show of Czechoslovak Fine Arts (group exhibition, Prague)


He moved from expressive painting towards abstract and geometric forms and he visibly broke away from the depicted landscape, including the suppression of chromacity. This is documented by his Bílé krajiny / White Landscapes I and II, which were his last open air pieces. The first is located in the collection of the Prague National Gallery and the second is in the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice. Landscape motifs remained present in their new abstract form, which enabled him to depict all sensed perceptions such as flowers’ scent, trembling air and flowing energy. With typical ease, he composed his eternal source of inspiration - the Kamenec Hill - in his artistic expression and in the form of a simple arch which expressed his relationship with the environment and the surrounding world, with an emphasis on the colour harmony of the resulting composition. He joined the Union of Czechoslovak Fine Artists (SČSVU) at the Warsaw Autumn exhibition. He visited the Museum of Modern Art in Lodz, where he first encountered poets Jiří Kolář and Josef Hiršal, whom he later met regularly in the Slavia café, along with numerous other artists.
Holice I.
Holice I. (painting)
Holice II.
Holice II. (painting)
Landscape (graphics)
Landscape (graphics)
Infinite space
Infinite space (graphics)
White Landscape
White Landscape (drawing)

The Group Transformation (group exhibition, Prague)
New graphic of members and guests SČUG Hollar (1960-61) (group exhibition, Prague)


1. Prague Festival of Young Graphics (group exhibition, Prague)
The transformance (group exhibition, Prague)


Malich was deeply hurt by the death of his father, as reflected in his work through a visible change in expression towards a minimization of elements leading to basic geometric forms such as lines or points. His earlier Tachisme and Informel approaches were replaced by lyrical geometric drawings in black Indian ink, art prints, reliefs and objects. By simplification of linear collages and assemblages made of various materials (sand, thread, cords), he came to monochromatic reliefs corresponding with his emotional feeling for landscape (Bílý reliéf / White Relief, Černý reliéf / Black Relief, 1963).
Figure (drawing)
Landscape (graphics)
Landscape (drawing)
Landscape (drawing)
Paths, tracks
Paths, tracks (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Tracks, Traces
Tracks, Traces (drawing)
Tracks, Traces
Tracks, Traces (drawing)

The Spring 1962 (solo exhibition, Prague)


His first solo exhibition took place in the Cultural Centre in Vysoké Mýto.
Landscape (drawing)
Landscape (drawing)
Yellow Relief
Yellow Relief (sculpture)
Light landscape
Light landscape (drawing)
Untitled (painting)
Untitled (graphics)
Untitled (graphics)
Untitled (drawing)
Untitled (drawing)
White Landscape (painting)

Was member of Křižovatka
Rychnov 63: Contemporary fine arts (group exhibition, Rychnov nad Kněžnou)
The Pictures of Karel Malich (solo exhibition, Vysoké Mýto)


He exhibited with Křižovatka / Intersection group (including: Vladimír Burda, Richard Fremund, Běla Kolářová, Jiří Kolář, Pavla Mautnerová, Vladislav Mirvald and Zdeněk Sýkora, with Jiří Padrta being the theoretical spokesperson), in Umělecká Beseda and he gave a solo exhibition in Hollar in Prague.
He created a group of black-and-white sculptures in which he examined the possibilities of spatial intersections, corridors and energy flows based on experienced internal feelings. The sculptures were usually made either as a plane or a spatial shape whose core was white and the surface was black. He thus came close to the current constructivist tendencies (Černobílá plastika / Black-and-White Sculpture, 1964–65).
Gray A
Gray A (sculpture)

Karel Malich: gouaches, collages, drawings (solo exhibition, Prague)
Umělecká beseda (1964) (group exhibition, Prague)
Rychnov 64 (group exhibition, Rychnov nad Kněžnou)
The Association of Czech Artists Graphic Designers Hollar 1963: the Founders and the Present (solo exhibition, Prague)
Křižovatka (group exhibition, Prague)


Composition (mixed media)


His exhibition of reliefs, easel sculptures and drawings in the Exhibition Hall at Karlovo náměstí, Prague, was awarded best SČSVU exhibition of that year. Jiří Padrta paid special attention to Karel Malich's work in his article in the Fine Arts.
Karel Malich: Reliefes, free sculptures and drawings (solo exhibition, Prague)
The Graphic Praga 66 (group exhibition, Prague)
Czech Graphics (group exhibition, Koblenz)
The Czechoslovak Contemporary Art (group exhibition, Lecco)
Contemporary Printmakers of Czechoslovakia (group exhibition, Syracuse (NY))
Creative group Umělecká beseda (1966) (group exhibition, Prague)
The Picture and Font (group exhibition, Prague)
The New Ways: Parade of Contemporary Avant-garde (group exhibition, Zlín)
Pražští grafici (group exhibition, Essen)
Spring Exhibition 1966 (group exhibition, Prague)
Czechoslovak Contemporary Art (group exhibition, Berlin)
The Actual Tendences of Czech Art: Images, Sculptures, Graphics (group exhibition, Prague)
The Tokyo International Exhibition of Art 1966 (group exhibition, Tokyo)
Czechoslovak Plastic from 1900 to the Present (group exhibition, Essen)
The fifteen graphic Artists (group exhibition, Prague)
Constructive Tendences (group exhibition, )


He further developed his topic of "corridors" in reliefs and sculptures bearing the same name, stemming from his terrifying internal feeling of lack of concentration (Žlutý koridor / Yellow Corridor, 1968, Modrý a stříbrný koridor / Blue and Silver Corridor, 1967–68). He created sculptures hanging freely in space, adumbrating the wire objects that dominated his work in the 1970's. Through dematerialized sculptures he unveiled the connection between nature and the universe, including flowing energies (Světlo-vzduch – Kosmické vejce / Light-Air - Cosmic Egg , 1973–74, Energie / Energy, 1974, Krajina / Landscape, 1974–75).
He created studies of cities for a police-free state, where you cannot shoot or hide, studies of cities under water and a cosmic city‚ studies of cities for tidal waves and for a desert. He created the first suspended Corridor (today owned by Erste Bank), the first plexiglass statues (during the Artchemo symposium in Pardubice, 1968) and open steel structures dealing with sculpture dematerialisation. He was represented at the Sculpture from Twenty Nations exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum in New York with his Černobílá plastika / Black-and-White Sculpture (1964).
Blue Corridor
Blue Corridor (sculpture)


In the autumn, he visited the United States, in particular New York, Chicago and Washington. The collective exhibition Nová citlivost / New Sensitivity presented his set of works which was significantly influenced by geometry.
He worked on sets of art prints made by etching and serigraphy, in which he processed motifs of plane, point and line.
Untitled (graphics)


The pictures - the sculptures, 2. exhibition of the collection acqusitions (group exhibition, Louny)
Constructive Art: Elements and Principles (group exhibition, Nuremberg)
The Artists of East Bohemia (group exhibition, Polička)
Four Artists from Prague (group exhibition, Kassel)
Contemporary Art-Acquisitions 1966-1969 (group exhibition, New York (NY))
Folgende Folge aus dem Tschechischen (group exhibition, Cologne)
Contemporary Czech art (group exhibition, Paris)
22 Artists from Czechoslovakia (group exhibition, Florence)
Contemporary Czechoslovak Art (group exhibition, Chicago (IL))
XXV May Salon. Exhibition Space Wilson (group exhibition, Paris)
Contemporary Art in Czechoslovakia/ Arte contemporanea in Cecoslovacchia (group exhibition, Rome)
The collage in the czech fine arts (solo exhibition, )
Artchemo. Pardubice 1968 (group exhibition, Pardubice)
Accrochage 69, Bilder-Grafik-Plastik-Objekte (group exhibition, Koblenz)
Five Czech Graphic Artists (group exhibition, )
Concretists´Club and Guest local and foreign (group exhibition, Karlovy Vary)


He exhibited his works in the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Venice Biennial with Jiří John, Zdena Fibichová and Jiří Kolář. During his journey he was captured by views of the Earth which he later rendered in the form of whirling linear drawings. He dealt with the interpretation of natural energy. He abandoned the solid plastic surface in his sculptures of natural elements, objects and energies. He created a bronze signature table and a model of the Globe placed on a block in the Czechoslovak exposition at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. He acquired a flat in Prague-Kobylisy.
The Blue Corridor (sculpture)
Project no. 2
Project no. 2 (sculpture)
Silver Corridor
Silver Corridor (sculpture)
Untitled (drawing)

Konfrontace I (1970) (group exhibition, Prague)
Grafika, Rysunke, Collage (group exhibition, Łódź)
EXPO ´70 (group exhibition, Osaka)
Graveurs tchécoslovaques contemporains (Contemporary Czechoslovak Engravers) (group exhibition, Geneva)
Concretists Graphics (group exhibition, Blansko)
Demartini, Kratina, Kubíček, Malich, Sýkora: Graphics (group exhibition, Prague)
Czech Sculpture of the 20th Century: From Myslbek to the Present (group exhibition, Berlin)
Cien Grabados y Cien Fotografias Checoslovaquia (group exhibition, Ciudad de México)
Artchemo (exhibition in 1970) (group exhibition, Prague)
Biennale internazionale d´arte (group exhibition, Venice)
Czech Art of the 20th Century (group exhibition, Geneva)
Contemporary Czechoslovakian Graphic (group exhibition, )
Graphics from Czechoslovakia (group exhibition, New York (NY))
The 7th International Biennial Exibition of Prints in Tokyo (group exhibition, Tokyo)


Czech Landscape of the 20th Century, 1st Nasavrky Pallet (group exhibition, Pardubice)
Konstruktive Kunst aus der ČSSR (group exhibition, Nuremberg)
Swiatlo geometrii (group exhibition, Łódź)
České sochařství 20. století (group exhibition, Sarajevo)
Premio Internazionale Biella per l´Insicione (group exhibition, Biella)
Werken van Tsjechoslowaakse Grafici 1960-1970 (Works of Czechoslovak Graphic) (group exhibition, Utrecht)
9th International Exhibition of Graphic 71 (group exhibition, Ljubljana )


The Cloud (sculpture)

Aktuelle Kunst in Osteuropa (group exhibition, Cologne)
Výstava českého rytectví (group exhibition, Buenos Aires)
Karel Malich: Plastics and projects (solo exhibition, Louny)
Constructive Art from Czechoslovakia: Demartini, Kubíček, Malich, Sýkora, Urbásek (group exhibition, St. Gallen)
Czech Artists (group exhibition, Munich)



Energy (sculpture)

Eastern European Art from the Collection of the Museum Bochum (group exhibition, Bochum)
Tschechische Künstler (group exhibition, Düsseldorf)


He travelled to South Bohemia with Zdeněk Sýkora to attend painting classes in the open air under Sýkora's programme from the Pedagogical Faculty of the Charles University, Prague.


He created reliefs in which he dealt with possibilities of perception and vision, and at the same time he worked on large wire objects whose topic was a trivial experience. Object Sedím a pozoruji oblohu / I Am Sitting and Watching the Sky (1976) and another titled Ještě jedno pivo? / One more pint? (1976) represented the climax of his examination of man's place in the Universe in the form of capturing his own point of view at a particular moment. A fraction of the given moment and personally perceived exceptional experience was expressed in its relationship to eternity. In later years, he dealt with the awareness of his own presence in time and space in the visions in which he incorporated the vision of inner light, his own soul, eternity and a crack in space. By returning to his past (Viděl jsem, jak jsem byl počat / I Saw Myself Being Conceived, 1980) he connected sensuous reality with the effort to arrive at the beginnings of creation and life.
Karel Malich Gouaches (solo exhibition, Chicago (IL))


He rendered the discovery of the inner light and intersections of spatial layers and existential states in sculptures titled Vnitřní světlo / Inner Light and Trhlina v prostoru / Crack in Space. He moved from the studio at Vinohrady to a new house in Prague - Podolí.
Inner Light II.
Inner Light II. (sculpture)


December 1979 - October 1980
He depicted his return to childhood in the form of the autobiographical essay Od tenkrát do teď tenkrát / From Then Till Now Then, in which he described the landscape of his childhood as a space of specific experiences. Similarly, he expressed his own impressions and his way of vision in other written records. He simply conveyed strong emotional experiences through his free use of words which he connected in completely new shapes.


He worked on a sculpture titled Krajina s věčnem / Landscape with Eternity (1979–1984), in which he incorporated a motif from the Kamenec Hill and the surroundings of his native Holice, which were deeply imprinted on his memory and which accompanied him through all his work as a specific spatial form. Similarly, a number of intimate drawings from his memories revealed the silhouette of the hill from a bird's eye view, and as viewed by the artist himself, walking through it either alone or with people. Period of pastels and temperas became the record of his inner vision in which he rendered friends, spaces and energy field clusters with dots and lines in streams of light. The cycle Já a všichni moji předkové / Me and All My Ancestors from the following year was a return to his ideas about the volume of independent gouaches dealing with the birth of light and word. In clear pastel colours he depicted his own visions (Já a ten druhý (ti druzí) / Me and the Other (Others), Za stolem / Behind a Table or Kterého (které) potkávám / The One (Those) I Meet), traditional archetypal subjects (Sdýchání se s vesmírem / Breathing with the Universe, 1981, Krajina s trhlinou v prostoru / Landscape with a Crack in Space, 1981) and the last supper (U stolu / At a Table). The latter pastel drawing was composed as a meeting of close souls at a table, through which he tried to cope with the departure of someone close. Besides depicting the uniqueness of a meeting filled with imaginative atmosphere, it is characterized by soft transitions of colours and shapes. After the ban on exhibiting in Czechoslovakia was lifted, he started to present his works to the public.
Současná česká kresba (group exhibition, Brno)
Kresby (group exhibition, Rychnov nad Kněžnou)
The Art of Eastern Europe in the 20th Century (group exhibition, Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
Eleven Contemporary Artists from Prague (group exhibition, New York (NY))


A book by Karel Srp devoted to Karel Malich titled Vědomí a kosmické energie / Consciousness and Cosmic Energies was published in the Situace / Situation edition, issued by the Jazzová sekce / Jazz Section.
Rytiny (group exhibition, Besançon)
Chairs in the 20th Century (group exhibition, Prague)


Karel Malich:Drawings (solo exhibition, Brno)
Małe jest piękne / Small is beautifull (group exhibition, Warsaw)


The light in me
The light in me (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)

Karel Malich: Drawings (solo exhibition, )
Konstruktivní tendence II (group exhibition, Berlin)
Additions 1982-1984 (group exhibition, Olomouc)


An exhibition of Malich's works was held in the Central Cultural House of Railroad Workers at Vinohrady, Prague, with a wire sculpture Krajina s věčnem / Landscape with Eternity. A samizdat collection Dech kosmu: práh věčna / Breath of the Universe: Threshold of Eternity devoted to Malich's art and literary work was published in the autumn.


Light (drawing)
Light in me
Light in me (drawing)

(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, Louny)
40th East Bohemian artistic Salon in Polička 1987 (group exhibition, Polička)
Expressive – Central European Art since 1960 (group exhibition, Vienna)


Gradually, Malich's works became highly valued at large retrospective exhibitions. Curators Karel Srp and Tomáš Vlček prepared the first such exhibition in the Art Gallery in Karlovy Vary, which was then repeated in Cheb and Roudnice nad Labem.
Hands (drawing)
Light (drawing)

(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, Prague)
(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, )
Boston Drawing Show (group exhibition, Boston (MA))
Karel Malich (retrospective exhibition) (solo exhibition, )
Contemporary Art in Czechoslovakia: Selections from the Jan and Meda Mladek Collection (group exhibition, New York (NY))
Twenty Years of Czechoslovak Art 1968-1988. A Tribute to Jacques Baruch (group exhibition, Chicago (IL))


Retrospective exhibition in the House of Art in Brno (curator: Jiří Valoch) and in the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice (curator: Hana Mandysová). An abundant set of Malich's pastels was exhibited under the large exhibition Magiciens de la Terre in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Light (drawing)
I saw the head
I saw the head (drawing)

Czech Painting Today (group exhibition, Esslingen am Neckar)
Karel Malich (retrospective exhibition) (solo exhibition, Brno)
Karel Malich:drawings (solo exhibition, Olomouc)


The City Gallery of Prague organised a large exhibition of Malich's work in the House of Stone Bell (curator Karel Srp). A cooperation between the artist and gallery owner Zdeněk Sklenář developed after their first meeting. They prepared the graphic album Česká grafika I / Czech Graphic Art I, published by Zdeněk Sklenář in 1993. Karel Malich was represented in this album with Václav Boštík, Milan Grygar and Zdeněk Sýkora.
Light (drawing)


Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)
I saw it
I saw it (drawing)

(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, Paris)
Tradition and Avant-garde in Prague (group exhibition, Bonn)
Grey Brick 78/1991 (group exhibition, Opava)
Art, Europe, Czechoslovakia (group exhibition, Lingen (Ems))


Was member of Umělecká beseda
Czech and Slovak Contemporary Art 1950 - 1992 (group exhibition, Novara)
Svetlo v tmách (group exhibition, Žilina)
Czech Fine Art 1960-1990 (group exhibition, Prague)
Font in the Picture (group exhibition, Brno)
Karel Malich:Pastels (solo exhibition, Berlin)
Karel Malich:Tempera,gouaches, collages (solo exhibition, Prague)


(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, Prague)
Karel Malich: Pastelle (solo exhibition, Hamburg )
Second Exit (group exhibition, Aachen)
(Karel Malich) (solo exhibition, Vienna)
Poetry of Rationality / Constructive Tendencies in Czech Art of the 60s (group exhibition, Prague)
Situation Prague - Dialog Second Generations (group exhibition, Hamburg )


Karel Malich engaged in pastel drawings in the first half of the 1990's. He revealed the record of inner vision in the form of impressive colour fields of distinctive shapes. His drawings and paintings were exhibited with Rudolf Steiner's blackboards in the Prague Castle Riding School (curator Jiří Ševčík). Malich's poetic prose Od tenkrát do teď tenkrát / From Then Till Now Then was published in the Trigon publishing house.


He exhibited a selection of pastels and wire objects in the Czech-Slovak pavillion at the 46th Biennial in Venice
XLVI. Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte/ La Biennale di Venezia (group exhibition, Venice)
Karel Malich. Pastels (solo exhibition, Kassel)
Karel Malich, Zdeněk Sýkora (group exhibition, )
Zdeněk Sýkora – Karel Malich (solo exhibition, Bad Münstereifel)


After the death of his mother Anna, he created a set of pastels and temperas named after her.


Light (drawing)
Light (drawing)

Karel Malich. Objects, Pasteles, Drawings (solo exhibition, Klatovy)
Karel Malich: pastels, drawings (solo exhibition, Prague)


He created new temperas, sculptures, drawings with pencil, pastels and crayons in which he revealed layers of consciousness and reflected on the surrounding world as a very intense, personal experience of all the colours of the rainbow. Simple lines are complemented with colour points expressing the energy of the artist's immediate surroundings.
Le regard égoiste 1 (Carte blanche à Ch. Boltanski) (group exhibition, Paris)
Karel Malich:The space of my body (solo exhibition, Prague)
Karel Malich:Pencil drawings (solo exhibition, Opava)
Karel Malich:Sunrise of the Pure World (solo exhibition, Šternberk)
The End of the World? (group exhibition, Prague)
Art in Central Europe 1949–1999 (group exhibition, Barcelona)
Actual Infinity (group exhibition, Prague)
100th Exhibition of Caesar Gallery (group exhibition, Olomouc)
90 Years of the Brno House of Arts (group exhibition, Brno)
Beyond Preconceptions: The Sixties Experiment (group exhibition, Prague)


One part of the Czech television series GEN was devoted to Karel Malich (directed by JaA solo exhibition titled Contrastes Karel Malich, was held in Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière in Paris. roslav Brabec).
Karel Malich: Works from 2000 (solo exhibition, Prague)
Jiří Kolář the Collector (group exhibition, Prague)
Object - Object: Metamorphoses in Time (group exhibition, Prague)


A solo exhibition titled Contrastes Karel Malich, was held in Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière in Paris.


He started a series of drawings dealing with the road to Holice cemetery as a contemplation on the fate of man. The free use of art forms in the depiction of a scene gave him space for the connection of spiritual topics with the regeneration of nature and with man being an integral part. The first of a number of his solo exhibitions was held in Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery at Smetanovo nábřeží, Prague (until 2012).


On the artist's anniversary, his exhibitions were held in the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice, Benedikt Rejt Gallery in Louny and the City Gallery in Prague. Karel Malich was awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Holice.


Scientific research institute of the Academy of Fine Arts (VVP AVU) in Prague published a catalogue of his wire sculptures titled Karel Malich. Wires / Dráty. Karel Malich's exhibitions were held in the Olomouc Museum of Art and in the Chateau Brewery in Litomyšl.


Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery issued a representative monograph of Karel Malich.


He created new Nástěnné plastiky / Wall Sculptures.


He worked on the project of a pulpit, an altar table and an altar sculpture in the New Church of the Brethren's Church in Litomyšl.
New Sensitivity (group exhibition, Beijing)


Doteky konstruktivismu (group exhibition, Prague)


Karel Malich: pastels (solo exhibition, )
Karel Malich:20 new plastics 2011 (solo exhibition, Prague)
Karel Malich: Spirit Spa (solo exhibition, )
From Tizian to Warhol / Olomouc Museum of Art 1951-2011 (group exhibition, Olomouc)


A documentary on Karel Malich, titled Prostě se to děje / It simply happens, was completed in January. The director, Martin Dostál, had been shooting it since 1998. He captured Karel Malich in his studio as well as in his native Holice, including the Kamenec Hill and he also captured the atmosphere of several of the artist’s exhibitions. The film was published during a retrospective exhibition of Malich, organised by the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery in the Prague Castle Riding School.


On Karel Malich's 90th birthday, the Eastern Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice presented an exhibition of the artist’s work. A large show of his work was also held in Koblenz, Germany in the same year.


Karel Malich 91 (solo exhibition, Prague)


Received award from Vladimír Boudník Prize
Karel Malich. Rediscovered (solo exhibition, Prague)


Image and Word in Czech Art of the 1960s (group exhibition, Plzeň)


Karel Malich died on 24th October at the age of 95.
Culmination / The Apex of Czech Fine Art (group exhibition, Prague)
Malich 95 (solo exhibition, Prague)
Karel Malich & Utopian Projects (solo exhibition, Brno)

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2022