Jan Matulka

(1890-1972)

Jan Matulka studied art briefly in Prague before immigrating to the U.S. in 1907. He continued with his academics at the National Academy of Design from 1911-16 and later at ASL. In 1917, Matulka was the first ever recipient of the Joseph Pulitzer traveling scholarship which he used to visit and study in Paris. After his trip his work showed more abstraction from his exposure to Cubism. This stylistic change remained with him throughout his career. Matulka held his first one man show in 1925. In the 1930s, Matulka painted murals for the WPA. "Still Life Composition" (1934) was painted at the National Museum of American Art and is quite evocative of the artist's private symbolism. Matulka was also a very influential professor at the ASL from 1929 to 1931. He exposed students to new and emerging styles that were rarely approached in traditional academic art courses. He died in 1972.