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Born 1908 in Olomouc, Czech Republic

Died 1986 in Prague, Czech Republic

Anna Zemánková (1908-1986)

Anna Zemánková's lyrical, otherworldly floral compositions are as beautiful as they are mysterious. Her mediumistic working method was akin to that of other Outsiders partnering with unseen, guiding forces, yet her oeuvre stands radically apart from work produced within a communal Spiritualist context. 

Born Anna Velelá on August 23, 1908 in Moravia, which is now part of the Czech Republic, Zemánková was dissuaded by her family from pursuing art, and instead studied dentistry. She married and raised a family, settling in Prague after WWII. As she grew older, she suffered depression, and the amputation of both legs due to diabetes.

After her son, an artist, provided her with art supplies and a drawing table, Zemánková found solace and a renewed sense of purpose in her unique creative practice. She would rise early and work in a trance state from 4-7 am, listening to classical music as she drew or sewed graceful, curvilinear floral shapes onto different kinds of paper. Of her imagery, Zemánková has said: "I am growing flowers that are not grown anywhere else.”

Over time, her work progressed from large works on paper to much smaller, more textured pieces made with crimped paper. Zemánková also created work with textile and embroidered furniture elements, much of which is lost. Also lost to us are a series of drawings in black ink on paper, created during a severe bout with diabetes, but destroyed by one of her sons. 

Curator and scholar Annie Carlano has found evidence in Zemánková's Moravian culture of a grassroots tradition of channeling spirits, and has proposed that this practice informed the artist, who worked with no connection to local Spiritualist circles. While this local tradition likely facilitated Zemánková's engagement with 'mediumistic creativity', her genius and dedication and staggering production make her a quintessential Outsider Artist.

- Jenifer P. Borum for Folk Art Magazine

Contact us for more information @wouters.sablon or

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Selected Works
Anna Zemánková (1908-1986)
Pastel on paper
31 x 41 cm
PARALLEL VISIONS with Alcides Pereira dos Santos, Cyprien Tokoudagba, Stjepan Vrbanec, Anna Zemánková
February 2 - February 24, 2024
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