[Prague]: 1976. Saudek, Jan. Vintage gelatin silver photograph, 15 1/2 x 12 inches, with brown paper borders. SIGNED by the photographer in silver ink at the lower right corner. Fine. Item #29620
Jan Saudek and his twin brother, Karel, were born in Prague, May 1935. Their father, Gustav, was of Jewish origin, and subsequently interned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp for the term of the war. There, it is reported that six of Jan’s siblings died; his father survived. By 1975, Jan Saudek had already achieved a large international audience for his highly theatrical and personal photographs. In many, he is his own model, as well as other family members and friends. In 1975 he photographed his father, standing face forward to the camera wearing the Star of David in a cemetery; he calls this one of his favorite photographs 30 years later. Perhaps that 1975 photograph was his premonition, for one year later both his father and the mother of his two small children died. In the photograph we offer here, the shirtless photographer is walking away from the camera with a pick over his shoulder, walking towards the headstones in the same cemetery as he photographed his father one year earlier. Jan Saudek seldom made photographs outdoors, choosing the confines of a closed room to produce his “theater of life”; it is telling that his portrait of his father and this self -portrait in a cemetery are of those few.