Anna Zemánkóvá was born in Olomouc, Moravia in 1908. Although she possessed a passion for drawing at a young age, her father wanted her to follow a more lucrative career and discouraged her creative exploration. At his suggestion, she studied dentistry from 1923-26 and then worked as a dental technician until 1933. At age 25, she married First Lieutenant Bohumir Zemanek and stopped her artistic practice. The young couple moved to the town of Brno, a major manufacturing center, and had four children. Although one son died at age four, two sons and one daughter are still living.

The war years, with the Nazi occupation, were difficult; by 1948, with the Communists in firm control, the Zemaneks moved to Prague. Anna spent her time caring for her family, isolating herself from the external political turmoil. Her passions were listening to classical music and reading; she preferred mysteries and, above all, the von Daniken books about aliens visiting earth. During the 1950s, as she approached menopause, her personality changed: she began to have ‘fits’ and periods of severe depression. In 1960, her son Bohumil suggested that she should try a hobby to take her mind off her troubles and refocus her energies now that her children were grown. Knowing she lacked art training, yet remembering reports of an earlier interest, he brought her pastels and paints. She ignored the latter, but began drawing with the pastels, and immediately impressed him with her efforts. He encouraged her, and brought her quality materials with which to work.

Anna Zemánkóvá died in 1986 in Prague. Since the start of her drawing career, her works have been shown in multiple exhibitions across the world, including in the Museum de Stadshof in Zwolle, Intuit in Chicago, Hayward Gallery in London, Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, the Irish Museum of Art in Dublin, Edward Thorp Gallery in New York, and Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of Collection d’Art Brut in Switzerland, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dow Jones in New York, Museum of American Folk Art in New York, The Petullo Collection in Milwaukee, Outsiders Archive in London, Les Halle St. Pierre in Paris, and Collection abcd in Paris.

One of my favorite artists.


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