Who is Janko Alexy?

By Gwylym Owen

Janko Alexy (25 January 1894 in Liptovský Mikuláš – 22 September 1970 in Bratislava) was a famous painter, writer, and publicist of Slovak origin. He is generally recognized (together taking into consideration Martin Benka and Ľudovít Fulla) as one of key personalities in the dawn of Modern Slovak Art.

He studied at the Akademie Výtvarných Umění (Academy of Visual Arts) in Prague by Vlaho Bukovac, Maximilian Pirner and Max Švabinský. He lived in Liptovský Mikuláš, Martin and from 1937 in Bratislava.

He began his creative artistic career when socially provoked expressive works from the air of the urban periphery, as he called it. He developed genre painting in an native way, inspired by ballads, folk songs and legends (Hôrni chlapci – Mountain Robbers). He in addition to devoted attention to stained glass and tapestries. Pastel was his most characteristic artistic technique. Alexy’s decorative genre of pastels is prevalent throughout his rural pieces (Kúria Baanovcov v Trstenom – Curia of the Baans in Trstené). Alexy was especially clever at painting cityscapes, though peculiarly, for usually an freshen of abstract expressionism resided in the works.

He in addition to created several models for architectural projects, e.g. the window-pane at the P. O. Hviezdoslav Theatre in Bratislava.

In his assistant professor works J. Alexy preferred themes from the dynamism of Slovak bohemia and autobiographical topics: Život nie je majáles (1956, Life is Not a May Festival), Osudy slovenských výtvarníkov (1948, Destinies of Slovak Graphic and Plastic Artists).

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