Jacub Schikaneder, Prague, Steamer on the Vltava in front of Palacky Bridge, c. 1910/20
oil on canvas, 84 x 106 cm, estimate € 180,000 – 240,000
There can hardly be any other late 19th or the early 20th century Bohemian painter whose work is as coveted by, and yet as unobtainable for art lovers and collectors, as Jakub Schikaneder. Born in Prague, he felt compelled in the late 1870s to follow another magical Prague-born artist, Gabriel Max, to Munich. Schikaneder himself experienced numerous fundamental artistic transformations, each of which was to have an extraordinary influence on Czech art. Only one of his series of works however, was to obtain the enormous symbolic and iconic power that makes it so enduringly desirable for collectors for over a century: his Prague motifs. They are the icing of any collection, the highlight of any auction, and the reason that enthusiasm knows no bounds when, an already spectacular selection of 19th-century Bohemian art, such as can be found in Dorotheum’s June sale this year, is crowned by a painting by the master of Prague nocturnes.