Study and Documentation Centre Norbertov
27. 10. 2016 – 26. 2. 2017
The exhibition Jan Rothmayer – Photographs has opened on 27 October 2016 as part of the grand opening of the new Norbertov Study and Documentation Centre of Modern Architecture. The centre was primarily established to store and present the vast heritage of the Rothmayer family which Jan Rothmayer and his wife Miloslava sold to the City of Prague in 2007 along with the family villa located on U Páté baterie Street in Prague 6. The sale was conditioned by the commitment of the buyer to open the villa to the public in order to commemorate Jan’s parents – architect Otto Rothmayer and textile designer Božena Rothmayerová, née Horneková. The current administrator of the house, the City of Prague Museum, fulfilled this commitment on 30 September 2015.
The exhibition presents part of the photographic heritage of the Rothmayers, specifically the pictures taken by Jan Rothmayer between 1956 and 1960. The selected photos give a sense of an occasional photographer who, inspired by Josef Sudek, was enchanted by the beauty of nature and ordinary things. The photographs were taken on their trips to Prague vicinity and Central and North Bohemia, during which Jan Rothmayer was Sudek’s pupil and assistant helping him carry heavy cameras and photographic equipment. In addition to shots of nature, composed pictures of the villa garden and documentation of the works of Otto and Božena Rothmayer are displayed. Apart from Jan’s keen interest in photography, his professional and leisure time activities focused on electro technology, contrary to his artistic parents. Therefore, his works cannot be viewed only from the artistic perspective. Evidence of his technical orientation is also reflected in the fact that he sometimes called his sets of negatives tests. Despite this aspect of Rothmayer’s work, it is important to highlight the documentary value of the photos which proved significant during the Villa Rothmayer reconstruction.
Compiled by Jan Mlčoch, Markéta Othová, Martin Polák, and Marie Szadkowská, a publication Jan Rothmayer – Photographs was published for the exhibition. Its short texts elaborate the exhibition theme and include more photographs by Jan Rothmayer which are being published for the first time.