Painter and artist Drahoslav Solta

The portrait of a globetrotter on one of his life stops

Text: Norbert Hirschfeld

At the entrance into a cosy gallery in the Börner Quarter in Göttingen are the eyes of visitors attracted by very gaily and even garish acrylic pictures of Göttingen monuments created by Drahoslav Solta who exhibits his works of painting here. His book Views of Göttingen has already been made here. The painter himself seems to be the antipode of his expressive „loud“ art while he makes the impression of an inconspicuous and shy person.

Heinz Peter Adams, a businessman of Göttingen was very helpful to the artist during his assimilation period in Germany, and he says about him: „He is extremely modest.“ Solta contends his only interest in painting and nothing else. Some of his paintings he sold even without his signature. „I do not consider it too important.“ He paints for the painting itself and sells without any regret. There are some pictures, of course, which he considers for very good in particular, but this feeling may change very quickly. Drahoslav Solta was born in former Czechoslovakia in 1960. The question – how he became a painter – he did not answer in a clear way initially. „I painted all the time“ he adds in explenation.

He has not had any toys he could play with in the time of communism, that is why he painted almost everything what he saw going on around himself. He did not make any notes at school in lessons on subjects like geography or history, but he was drawing them in his scribbling pad only. After finishing the basic school he attended a School of Art and then the Academy of Art in Plzen.

He took part in some symposia to gain more skills and knowledge in diverse techniques as painting, graphic art, drawing or plastic art. Solta achieved an appreciation in the field of art creation and was successful in the art-therapy, too.

After the fall of the iron curtain and the opportunity of free travelling in 1989 he did a journey through Europe and settled in Spain afterwords where he has been lived with his common-law wife in Estepona, Costa del Sol up to now. His work was formed by the socialist art till the time when he started to travel. His creation was much realistic than it is nowadays. In Spain he learned the possibility how to cope with the real art in its entire shapes, as it is mentioned by Manfred Boetzke, director of the Stadtmuseum Knochauer Amtshaus in Hildersheim in the book „Kein stilles Leben“.(Nothing like an idyll).

At present Solta works for many gallerists worldwide and his works are estimated by four digit sums. His works could be seen by visitors in Prague, Malaga, Milano, Marbell, San Francisco, New York and other cities. The biggest exhibition he had at The Royal Society of British Sculptors in London, in 1999. Solta did not make any radical change in his creation so far, but his talent and success continuosly rose in value, explains Heinz Peter Adams who is a friend of the artist and is a helpto him when he is giving an interview. The artist remembers how once a Russian gallerist arrived with his private jet and bought 22 pictures and even one of his pictures became a piece in the collection of Boris Jeltzin´s Secretary.

Solta was discovered by the German businessman Adams on his trip to Spain about 15 years ago. He was very fascinated and visited some exhibitions and bought several pictures from him. He invited the painter for a couple of weeks to stay in Göttingen in 2004. The city enchanted the artist to a large extent that he decided to stay for seven months, the both remember with a smile.Their relationship characterizes the businessman as a cooperation and family friendship.

Historical structures of the city of Göttingen as a main theme can be seen in many Solta´s pictures by that time. Solta wrote a book „Kein stilles Leben“ - Nothing like an idyll presenting his still-life, landscapes and some more of his sights of historical corners of the city of Göttingen. To the view of the art historian Boetzke the artist made a substantial decline from the formal acceptance of the modern way of painting.. The colours on paintings from Spain are determined by the light and they look softer and like in haze, explains Adams. Since that time he has been using tones which are deeper and louder and it may refer to German expressionism in the end.

The businessman is fascinated by the nature of the pictures which reflect objects seen from different viewpoints and prospects, says he while walking in the gallery. Apparently moved he stops in front of a picture with the Old Townhall made from a bird´s eye view. Few of us can hardly say to have ever seen the Townhall from this point. The painter explains, how he had to climb the tower of the St John, made quickly some rough drawings and later in his atelier he finished the picture.

In the year 2000 Solta has got the idea to make a book on The vedutas of Göttingen. Originally they were only some drawings which he later modified into paintings on canvas. They represent nowadays a nice collection. Solta has been back in Göttingen since December and he will stay till the book is completed. His works of art can be seen in the gallery Dietfried Schlichting Antiqutäten and in the above named Gallery as well. The reviewers of the book are the businessman and art historian August Quensen and Manfred Boetzkes, who in his review on the book “Kein stilles Leben” qouts that the way of artistic visions rests in the optimistic and joyous level. The same may be related to the vedutas of the old architecture of the city of Göttingen full of mysterious life.

No peaceful life

Text: Prof. Manfred Boetzkes

As many other artists of the 20th century were self-taught persons, the same is the case with Mr Drahoslav Solta. Both inspiration and gift to express himself by artistic means came into being by the time of real socialism. His first job he executed as an art therapist and some further experience he benefited from his working stays in Poland, the Soviet Union and East Germany where he experienced a new social backround and a strange environment which exercised a significant influence on his artistic creation.

Due to political changes after 1989 he as an artist, did not hope to have his living as for granted. That is why Mr Solta made his mind to take advantage for his creative work of just emerging turbulences after the collapse of socialist order in Czechoslovakia. The new reality led him to Spain where he takes the unique occasion how to cope with the latest artistic schools and in all their forms. However, his profound interest in classical modernism which he had brought along from Czechoslovakia became undubitably reliable fundamentals of his artistic bearing.

His artistic coping with certain picture conceptions of modernism Mr Solta proofed in essence in his works from the 90th. This has led him to an appraisable original style of creation. An apparent decline from this tradition can be seen in the works from the turn of 20th century. Both the perception and the seeing the life in reality are represented in an emotional and more expressive way of depiction.

This transition process clearly crownes the artistic medium, a method, which entirely characterizes the classical modernism and takes up the leading rank in Mr Solta´s artistic works, namely „still life“. The artists from the period of impressionism and afterwards of all other following -isms as modernism, particularly cubism, dadaism, surrealism and pop art are offered with the very popular conception of artistic selfreflexion since the early Renaissance e. g. the possibility how to render and define one´s work in the most likely way. It is Mr Solta himself who exploits this conception in his abundant still lives. In his case the picture conception achieves to a certain extent an unexpected, creative and quite often ironic transofrmation: in „still life“, „Nature morte“, and in non vivid and immobile objects (Art Lexikon 1986) is apparent a certain dynamically developing „lebensraum“ - a livingscope to which depiction he effectively utilizes neoexpressionistic and very carefully selected means of naive art. For all that something very particular and characteristic is being originated here , some dynamic microcosmos, as if it had been burst out from the heart of man and enables the spectator a notion of an ubiquitous enchantment and vigour arising from everyday´s meeting macrocosmos. The shady sides the artist leaves systematically unlighted on the contrary to the optimistic and joyous view of the world.

Mr Solta´s artistically unchanged joy of life had a distinct impact not only on his still life but his overall creation. His pictures of town scenery are bearing a seal of such a jouyful look at the earthly life, often quoted deliberately by the masters of surrealism. Equally his artistic arrangement of pictures facilitate an optimistic and positive view of the world. That goes especially for Solta´s pictures of architectonic monuments, the landmarks of Göttingen, having a touch of mysteriuos life.

Paintings by Drahoslav Solta

Text: PhDr. Marie Pospíšilová, historician, 3.3.2011

The works by Drahoslav Šolta radiate the feeling of joy and happiness along with creative passion at first sight and this positive sense is fully reflected in viewer´s eye. The merit of the painter´s work is the essence of special liking for creating and love of painting itself. Painter Drahoslav Šolta was born on 25th of March 1960 in Hranice na Moravě. His childhood and youth he spent in Mariánské Lázně.

Here he attended a public school of art and it was also the place where he learned and acquired the basic rudiments of art of painting and other visual techniques from the local artists. However, he has not completed any school of art and his artistic talent was left to his own devices in person. It was now solely on his personal decision how to utilize the gathered artisitic experience, on his choise of visual means for the creation, and on the way, how he sets up and establishes the form of his original artistic expression. However, the joy of creation was undoubtedly the leading spirit at the very beginning. The personal perceptions and impressions of his environs were transfered into canvases of enormous dimensions, particularly in the later period of creation. Hence, both the affirmative world imagination and the creative joy will appear most likely in the colourlightness, indulging especially in red and blue, as these colours are often applied at the same time separately, independent of the reality, when vivid and bright colours of the works may not correspond with the grey and dull reality at all. This is another typical sign of scenic beauty of the painting which is felt very positively and accepted by the viewer.

An obvious illuminative impact by such renowned and eminent personalities of art world such as Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse or Marc Chagall, is to be recognized in Šolta´s works painted in his original way. Being inspired and instructed by their artistic works, Šolta lets this experienced enlightening fully reflect, which enables the informed viewer an easier comprehension and liking of his original paintings.

A well versed viewer may notice at once, that the painter does not focus on the composition too much, what is not quite possible in the result because he works simply spontaneously, the brushstrokes go from one frame corner accross the canvas to the other one, and the whole painted surface may one remind of a wall-paper. One can hardly find an axial golden line in the painting which is the main principle in picture composition since Italian Renaissance, and the taught painters have been taking this advantage up to now. It is so and foremost because the viewer´s eye has to be pleased and further then, that the following time-tested artistic traditions may in this case definitely avoid any incurring displeasures with the viewing public who may reject such an unbalanced composition in the end.

Šolta did not utilize the well-trained techniques in his works, they are rather lost and absent, neither evident in depicting of some objects. Particularly some depicted buildings or objects of still life often seem to fall down in all directions, what can be most decidedly the painter´s intention and purpose providing the paintings with a considerable picturesqueness. In effort to create straight and smooth shapes, some inaccuracies might appear and be held also as a certain drawback of the painting. On the contrary, the painter succeeded to achieve a very peculiar expressiveness in his work which makes a good impact in the optimistic and picturesque way.

Thanks to the original art creation founded on his personal unrestrained perception of the environs, and also to the fact that he has not been swayed by any school axioms and experienced art principles, Drahoslav Šolta has ranked among the artists who were considered as the representatives of the naive painting. In the art world is the French artist Henri Rousseau considered as the founder of this art expression, another outstanding artist already named Marc Chagall and in the Czech Republic born painter, Karel Chaba, with his peculiar artistic vision of old Prague architecture with its enigmatic secluded places, is to be mentioned.

The extraordinary colourfulness in features together with general fondness are to be stressed because the works by painter Karel Chaba were highly appreciated already during his lifetime. There were and there still are many of his followers, but in general this style of art expression meets considerably a higher estimation and attention abroad than in this country. Anyway, what became a custom here is the perfect well-trained traditional classical style of creation on one side, and everything what may look a bit untrained and unrestrained on the other one, represents a creation that should be rejected and its drawback emphasized. An assumption was declared, some decades ago, that the natural creative passion would meet with the same recognition in this country as somewhere else. It has not happened yet, surprisingly. The local situation is still somehow more reserved and complicated in the acceptance of these original creative expressions.

The creative conditions abroad were completely different and that is why Drahoslav Šolta ventured forth to meet understanding and desires of his creation, when he decided to leave his country for Spain in spring 1989. In Spain he threw himself passionately into painting of enormous canvases and began also to display soon. A big success and meaning he saw in the appreciation of his work. For the biggest achievement he regards the fact that his paintings were selected for the exposition at The Royal Society of British Sculptors in London 1999. A further success he earned when his paintings attracted a Russian gallerist who bought several pieces and one painting bought even former president Boris Jeltzin.

A very decisive importance in Drahoslav Šolta´s creative development was the meeting with German businessman, Heinz Peter Adams from Göttingen, being already on his travels in Spain. He bought several Šolta´s paintings. This meeting resulted in an invitation for a two weeks visit at Göttingen in 2004. This ancient German city had enchanted artist Šolta to such an extent that he prolonged his two weeks stay to seven months and decided to depict the ancient architecture and romantic places of this town overflowing with history. Of course, he applied his original way of creating there. His works met with a great success in Göttingen. Painter Šolta made good contacts and started a steady collaboration there, too. Mr. Heinz Peter Adams became his important supporter.The Šolta´s works did not stay behind either outside the scope of art experts. His works of art were estimated even by Manfred Boetzkes, director of Municipal Museum at Knochauer Amtsamt in Hildersheim, who wrote an essay on his paintings: Kein stilles Leben - No peaceful Life. He appreciated the joyous feeling which arises from his canvases.

What may the collector´s main interest in Šolta´s work be, if it retains its current value, or if it will loose or gain in value in the near future. Considering the local real state of art world and with awarness of the fact that, what may not fit comfortably into the traditional creation, eg., to the trained painting with all its characteristic principles. There is still a considerable deficit which prevails in some respect. Nevertheless, a new process of estimating of such works, Drahoslav Šolta does, is in sight.

In this respect seems the prognosis of increasing value of works by Drahoslav Šolta to be favourable. Further on, our opinion can be based on simple precedents which can be followed by the creation of other artists, eg., a case of Pablo Picasso, as a most significant artist of the twentieth century, can quite clearly prove and illustrate the fact that a spontaneous and fast working on many paintings does not represent any decline in interest or value of these works, at all. A persistant power and the intensity of artist evidence are the most important purposes, eg. firstly - the artist is aware of his goal to address the viewer, and secondly - the process of creating should never stop.

A fatal error was, that many artists remained sticked with obstinate resistance to established forms, which made them famous once and did not want to abondon them. They assumed erroneously that, when they were once lucky, the good luck and success must be permanent. Everything developes, the whole world, and so do the forms of an artist the same. The artist is on his artistic quest and he cannot stagnate at all. This development need not be rash or turbulent, not even denying the preceding. The artist should face it with boldness. All these factors should be based on harmony which implies in the future understanding and appreciation of the creation of the artisit.