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Emil Orlik (1870-1932)

Emil Orlik (21 July 1870 – 28 September 1932) was a painter, etcher and lithographer. He was born in Prague, which was at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and lived and worked in Prague, Austria and Germany. He was the son of a tailor. He first studied art at the private art school of Heinrich Knirr, where one of his fellow pupils was Paul Klee. From 1891, he studied at the Munich Academy under Wilhelm Lindenschmit. Later he learned engraving from Johann Leonhard Raab and proceeded to experiment with various printmaking processes.

After performing his military service in Prague, he returned to Munich, where he worked for the magazine Jugend. He spent most of 1898, travelling through Europe, visiting the Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, and Paris. During this time he became aware of Japanese art, and the impact it was having in Europe, and decided to visit Japan to learn woodcut techniques. He left for Asia in March 1900, stopping off in Hong Kong, before reaching Japan, where he stayed until February 1901.

Three ladies

He produced a large collection of paintings, woodcuts prints and etchings.

At the turn of the 19th century, for the first time, Japanese prints were available in Europe to be collected and traded. To the Europeans, these prints appeared fresh and modern, though they existed in Japan since the 18th century.

The Japanese artists were not concerned with perspective or an accurate depiction of nature but rather, their focus was on the beauty of the line and composition.

example of Japanese influenced print by Orlik

Emil Orlik was fascinated by Japanese art and culture. He had travelled extensively through Europe searching but finally in 1900, he journeyed to Japan. Orlik learned Japanese and travelled alone on foot through parts of Japan that few Europeans had discovered. There, he studied from the artisans he admired. Upon his return to Vienna, at that time, he was one of the few European artists that had ventured to Japan.

His works brings together his European roots and his newly discovered Asian sensibilities. The below catalogue is available at

Orlik publicatin for galerie Vomel

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