Saudek, Jan(Czech, b. 1935)
The photography of Jan Saudek is to a considerable degree shaped by his childhood, during which he and much of his family were interned in concentration camps, and both he and his twin brother only by a stroke of luck escaped the experiments of infamous Nazi physician, Josef Mengele. Sadly, much of Saudek’s family was killed in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II.
On the other hand, Saudek’s attendance to Steichen's exhibition "Family of Man" in 1963 caused him to enter into photography as both a personal form of expression and a career. In 1969, Saudek traveled to the United States and was encouraged in his work by curator Hugh Edwards. Upon returning to Prague, Saudek was forced to work in a clandestine manner, to avoid the attentions of the secret police, as his work turned to themes of personal erotic freedom, and used implicitly political symbols of corruption and innocence.
From the late 1970’s on he gradually became recognized in the Western world as the leading Czech photographer, and also developed a following among photographers in his own country. In 1983 the first book of his work was published in the English-speaking world. Following this event, in 1984 the Communist authorities allowed him to cease working in a factory, and gave him permission to apply for a permit to work as an artist. In 1987, the archives of his negatives were seized by the police, but later returned.
Saudek currently lives and works in Prague. His best-known work is noted for its hand-tinted portrayal of painterly dream worlds, often inhabited by nude or semi-nude figures surrounded by bare plaster walls or painted backdrops, frequently re-using identical elements. In this they echo the studio and taboo works of mid-nineteenth century erotic photographers, as well as the works of the painter Balthus (French, 1908-2001), and the work of Bernard Faucon (French, b. 1950). Saudek’s early art photography is noted for its evocation of childhood, whereas later his works often portrayed the evolution from child to adult. Religious motives or the ambiguity between man and woman have also been some of Saudek's recurring themes.
Although his work was the subject of several attempts at censorship in the West during the 1990’s, his work has entered popular culture in the United States, being used for album covers for popular American music groups such as Soul Asylum.

t. (Main Office)
t. (Suburban Office)
f.