Photolithograph (1973), 28,5 x 41,5 cm, 55 x 66 cm (including frame), signed in print.
Volume Shooting Gallery
12 black prints on paper with printed signature
Origin: Album issued by Radovan Ivšić TIR, Cycle de douze dessins 1939-1940 et deux pointes seches 1973, Éditions Maintenant, Paris 1973
Album numbered 67-75, individual prints numbered chronologically
Origin: Auction House Prague
The highest achieved price for Toyen´s work (oil on canvas) in the foreign auction sale – 700 thousand €, May 2016, Auction House Thierry-Lannon & Associés in Brest
The highest price achieved in the home auction sale – 36 million CZK in the year 2017, Galerie Kodl
The highest price achieved in the home auction sale for print – 216 thousand CZK in the year 2012, Galerie Kodl
The highest price achieved in the home auction sale for drawing – 1.1 million CZK in the year 2009
While many respected artists became for the time of the war silent, Toyen, although she left her painting behind, she all the more and intensively occupied herself with drawing.
These were coming to being always in bigger thematic cycles and after the war Toyen decided to print some of them due to their importance in small series.
In later years, when the surrealistic group more or less fell apart and the Art Scene was dominated by Abstraction and New Realism, Toyen stayed in her thinking a bit solitary. After the death of the founder and main guru of surrealism André Breton in the year 1966 she was left with only few friends. Nevertheless, among them were two important people – poet Annie Le Brun and theorist Ivšić who published her monograph and initiated the second prints of the war cycle Shooting Gallery. He said of her work (and it applies in every way and also to her war cycle) that it makes you “not to watch but to think”.
It is necessary to add that during the war Toyen still lived in Czechoslovakia. She left to Paris, where she had her background and friends in the year 1947 due to the fear of Stalinism.
The name Shooting Gallery is the synonym of war but also it points to the favourite theme of funfairs of the early Devětsil (socialistic art union with the theorist Karel Teige in the lead, 1920-1930). The individual drawings are full of various human and animal beings or of their parts – this “Bestiary” was formed by the Author in the older work already and mainly in the cycles accompanying the poetry cycles of her younger friend, poet Jindřicha Heisler, with whom she left to Paris. Typical for Shooting Gallery are scenes similar to theatre stage – taking place in desert with remote horizon. The stories are not single-meaning but from all the scenes of the Cycle the anxiety breaths. Nevertheless the usage of many childlike themes compensates its melancholy and usage. The comeback to childhood means also the defence against the evil world which we refuse to understand. Toyen was faithful to the baxic axiom of Artificialism which she wrote down with Štyrský in the year 1927: “The Artificialism is the identification of the painter with the poet.” She stayed true to this also when depicting the war horrors.
The ninth print of the cycle Shooting Gallery is from all the sheets the most elaborated one in regards to meaning. Nevertheless, since no Author´s comments exist, not even interpretations of her contemporaries, we can guess only what metaphors are taking place in the scene with the puppet theatre. In an empty space marked out by sticks with barbed wire there are standing two puppet theatres for children. The one in front is depicted in detail – on the stage six dead gooses with strange numbers, in the background of cracked antique scenery we can see a romantic ruin and in the front there is hanging a cut off finger. Because this sheet has in the signature the year 1940 as the first one in this cycle, it is possible that certain symbols are commenting on the occupation of beloved France and Paris by Hitler army.
This print is also known in coloured version (in private collection) and it appeared on the market individually for the last time in the year 2005. The Czech collection published by publishing house Fr. Borový was auctioned last time in 2011, the collection published in Paris by Radovan Ivšić was auctioned on the Czech market last time in 2005.