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Smythe - McKee

Alois Hrdlička, Untitled, no date

Alois Hrdlička, Untitled, no date

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Alois Hrdlička was an academic painter. He was born in Hranice, but was baptized as Alois Alexander Hrdlička in the parish church in Špičky as the illegitimate son of Anna Hrdličková from Bělotín. He was refused baptism by the local border parish for false information about his real mother. His real parents were Professor of the Artillery Academy P. Ulrych Josef Hájek and Antonie Konečná.

From 1871 to 1874, Alois attended a real grammar school in Hranice and then went to Vienna on the recommendation of teacher Jan Pinkava, where he studied at the General School of Drawing. However, for material reasons, he had to leave his studies and worked as an assistant butcher. He managed to complete the Vienna Academy only in 1900. In the same year he went to the USA with his wife Maria. They settled there in New York, and Alois subsisted on painting decorations for theaters and portraiture and landscape painting.

He successfully exhibited his works and drew special attention to himself with a large painting called Washington at the Battle of Monmouth at the exhibition in Torthawn, Oregon. The couple finally decided to return to Hranice in 1922 after 22 years of living in America and bought a house in Trávnická Street. In his hometown, Hrdlička painted landscape and genre paintings with border and Beskydy motifs, as well as portraits.

To this day, the collections of the Border Museum and Gallery include his landscape painting, a self-portrait and a probable portrait of his father, which is especially valuable for deciphering the secret of the painter's birth. Alois Hrdlička died in 1940 and is buried with his wife in the town cemetery in Hranice.

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