Joseph Tomanek 1889-1974.
Nude in a landscape.
Joseph Tomanek. Nude in a landscape c1920.
About the artist.
Joseph Tomanek the son of a carpenter was born on a farm in Straznice, Czechoslovakia southeastern Moravia on the 16th April 1889.
His family wanted him to become a shoe maker and there fore discouraged him from art and becoming an artist despite his obvious
He first studied the rudiments of art in his own country at the School of Design in Prague, before emigrating to America at turn of the century, perhaps to avoid the three years national service that he would have had to serve in his own country and instead worked as an interior decorator as he was trained in interior design. He then moved to Chicago in 1910 to attend the Art Institute where he studied under Antonin Sterba as well as studying under Albert Krehbiel and K.A. Buehr. His work is included in the collection of the Vanderpoel Art Association (Chicago). He became well known for his Bouguereau like nudes. His
work was very much in the style of his favourite artist William Bouguereau but unlike Bouguereau, who's fondness was to paint nude nymphs and mythological creatures, Tomanek's preferences where to paint his nudes posing in more natural surroundings
incorporating woodland scenes and coastal locations into his nude studies, not dissimilar to Bouguereau but presented and portrayed in a more natural way. He was a member of the Bohemian Artist Club, Association of Chicago Painters and Sculptors, and the Chicago Gallery Association and also The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts which was founded in 1850 and is the second oldest artist organization in the United States. He exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Georgia Museum of Art from the 1910s -1940s.
Tomanek often had difficulties posing his nudes in Chicago and was quoted as saying "In Paris you can rent little garden studios and pose your models there in privacy. Here, if I work out of doors, I have to pose the girls in bathing suits. Take them to the forest preserves, and they complain about the mosquitoes. Even on my studio roof I get no privacy. An airplane pilot spots you and swoops down to satisfy his curiosity, but at my summer home at Ogden Dunes I have overcome these little difficulties." In order to get his setting and back grounds right, Tomanek would first take his model to a location of his choosing where he would get her to pose fully clothed against his chosen backdrop until he had sketched out and prepared his piece.
Then he would take his model back to his Chicago studio and get her to undress so that could study her more closely and add her naked form to the piece. Tomanek did not always use the same model for a piece and would often use several different models to make up his finished subject, using perhaps the head and face of one model, the body of another and the feet of another until he was satisfied with the finished look. His favourite model was of course his wife Marie. She was a small brunette that he met when she modelled at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tomaneks home and other works.
Tomanek's studio was located at 1436 West 18th Street in Chicago's Pilsen neighbourhood, but he also
owned a summer home where he had an art studio at the exclusive Ogden Dunes in porter county Indiana. The cottage was previously built for, and owned by Clifton Tidholm and Elwood Koch, the owners of the Imperial House, a well known restaurant in Chicago and it was once featured in the New York Herald Tribune in 1931 with the headline of "Novel Cottage constructed on a sand dune site." It was purchased in 1946 by Joseph and his wife Marie Tomanek.
Joseph also painted floral still life's, landscapes religious scenes and murals, with several of his religious scenes being painted for local Roman Catholic churches.One of which was a 50 feet long mural that was installed at the altar of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Forest Park. Being also a commercial artist he did billboard advertising work as well. He was also known to be a frame maker, making frames for Frank Dudley who was a Dunes neighbour. Joseph Tomanek died at the age of 85 on the 31st December 1974 in Berwyn, Illonois.
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