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The House of the Black Madonna: a work of resistance

art & culture

Cubism's incursion into Bohemia shook off Prague's dusty image as the provincial capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Josef Gočár, a member of the famous Mánes circle of artists, designed the House of the Black Madonna as a department store commissioned by the merchant František Josef Herbs.

It emulates French Cubist style (Picasso, Braque) and therefore represented a cultural resistance against the Viennese avant-garde. The building takes its name from the Gothic black virgin perching on one of its parapets. Little by little the building was forgotten until it became a showpiece of avant-garde Czech Cubism as an annex to Prague's National Gallery at the end of 2012.

Today merchants have reclaimed a corner of its history with the opening of a Kubista shop-gallery on the ground floor. On the first floor, the Grand Café Orient has been faithfully restored to its original form after being closed for 80 years.

House of the Black Madonna
Ovocný trh 19
110 00 Praha 1

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