The artist is regarded as one of the most original abstract painters active in Prague in the decades after the Second World War.
Prague had been a centre of Surrealist art since the 1920s, but in the late 1960s artists like Medek began to move away from an overtly figurative style. He developed a more inscrutable aesthetic, evinced in the current work, where anxious imagery and a sense of anonymity and dislocation gave undertones of the political climate under Communist rule.
Signed and dated ’69, the 22 x 14in (56 x 37cm) pen and ink wash and gouache has a dedication in English to Mr and Mrs Eli Wallitt who acquired it directly from the artist in the year it was painted.
Estimated at £1000-1200, it drew plenty of interest and was knocked down to a private Czech buyer at £15,000. While Medek’s paintings can fetch six-figure and even seven-figure sums, this sum appears to be the highest for a work on paper at auction (source: Artprice by Artmarket).
A popular contemporary work further down the price-scale was an acrylic and polymer on paper by New Zealand painter Max Gimblett (b.1935).
Titled How many times for your sake have I gone down to the dragon’s cave, it was signed and dated 1987 and was a trademark piece of abstraction by the artist whose work is represented in galleries including the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, and the National Gallery of Art of Australia.
Estimated at £500-700, it was knocked down at £1600 to an Australian buyer.