Anna Zemánková - June 9 through November 26, 2017

Anna Zemánková

The Collection de l’Art Brut proudly presents a major retrospective of works by the Czech creator Anna Zemánková (1908 – 1986). The event has been set up in close conjunction with this creator's family who, for many years now, has sought to promote Zemánková's oeuvre. To that end, the Collection de l'Art Brut has assembled a large selection of nearly 130 drawings from both its own holdings and the family's private collection: many of these are being shown for the first time. Works from a private Czech collection will also go on display, together with archival documents, a to-date-unreleased film on Anna Zemánková and a major monograph.

Anna Zemánková was born in Olomouc (Moravia) in 1908: at a very young age she was already attracted to drawing, but found no encouragement for that love within her family circle. Wedded in 1933, she and her husband settled in Prague. Here Anna became active as a dental technician, but she gave up that profession upon the birth of a second son. In the wake of a succession of painful events in her life—the death of one of her sons and several bouts of depression—she reached a breaking point. It was in the early 1960s, at the age of over fifty, that she suddenly took up drawing. She first worked in pastels on large sheets of paper; over the following years, she gradually  developed an innovative technique blending pencil, ink, pastels, perforation, collage, cut-outs, embossing and even embroidery.

In a nigh-to-mediumistic and deeply concentrated fashion, Anna would begin drawing at about 4 am. The dawn hours seemed to incite her to attain a state of ecstasy conducive to capturing the magnetic forces emanated by a parallel world. This in turn induced her to come up with a phantasmagoric herbarium of flowers and plants, all radiating in a blaze of colors. She was also wont to work on the materials themselves, perforating and shaping the support. Increasingly afflicted by diabetes over the years, she was gradually forced to limit her activities and movements. This obligation led her to reduce the size of her works all the way down to miniatures in which, nonetheless, her flowers continued to bloom altogether vividly. Encouraged to do so by her sons, Anna devoted herself to her artistic creation for twenty-five years, resulting in the production of several thousand works.


Exhibition Curator :

Pascale Jeanneret, Curator with the Collection de l’Art Brut, and Terezie Zemánková, art critic and freelance exhibition curator

The "Anna Zemánková" exhibition in the medias:

La Diagonale de l'Art, "Anna Zemánková ou la vie impossible", 10 juin 2017

RTS, émission Vertigo, 12 juin 2017

24heures, Florence Millioud-Henriques, "Le jardin d'Anna Zemánková"16 juin 2017

RTS info, "La Collection de l'Art Brut expose les fleurs infinies d'Anna Zemánková", 19 juin 2017

RTS, Espace 2, émission "Nectar", 19 juin 2017

RSI, Due nuove expo al Musée de l'Art Brut di Losanna, 26.07.2017

Radio Praha, "Art Brut : Anna Zemánková et ses drôle de fleurs exposées à Lausanne", 09.09.2017

Inner (web-magazine): "Anna Zemánková" , 26.09.2017

Le Temps, Laurence Chauvy, "Un voyage en pays imaginaire", 8.09.2017

Inner (web-magazine): "Anna Zemánková" , 26.09.2017

Le Temps, Laurence Chauvy, "Un voyage en pays imaginaire", 8.09.2017

Inner Magazine, Kari Nevalainen, "Anna Zemankova", 26.09.2017

Practical information


9 June - 26 November 2017

Opening reception

Thursday 8 June 2017, 6:30pm


Anna Zemánková, directed by Terezie Zemánková, Prague: Kant, ABCD, 2017, 400 pages.


The documentary film Le jardin botanique d'Anna Zemánková (A.Z.'s botanical garden) by Philippe Lespinasse and Andress Alvarez (30 min, 2017), produced by Lokomotiv Film and the Collection de l’Art Brut, is screened as a loop during the exhibition.

Guided tours

Upon request for groups and classes: in French, German, English and Italian.


The exhibition Anna Zemánková is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)

  • Public opening of the "Anna Zemànkova" exhibition - Thursday 8 June 2017, 06:00 pm
  • Free guided tour of the "Anna Zemànkova" exhibition - Saturday 9 September 2017, 02:00 pm - online booking, within the limits of the seats available.
  • Free guided tour of the "Anna Zemànkova" exhibition for teachers - Thursday 14 September 2017, 05:00 pm - online booking, within the limits of the seats available.