Jan Saudek

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Black Sheep and White Crow by Jan Saudek

Jan Saudek (born 13 May 1935 in Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech art photographer and painter.
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. In this they echo the studio and tableaux works of mid nineteenth century erotic photographers, as well as the works of the painter Balthus, and of Bernard Faucon. His early art photography is noted for its evocation of childhood. His later works often portrayed the evolution from child to adult. Religious motifs or the ambiguity between man and woman have also been some of Jan Saudek’s recurring themes.

His work was the subject of attempts at censorship in the West during the 1990s.

Saudek’s imagery has had a mixed international reception. Quite early, he had shows in the United States and in Australia, where in 1970 his work was shown at the Australian Centre for Photography and was welcomed by curator Jennie Boddington at the National Gallery of Victoria. In the same country, by contrast, “Black Sheep and White Crow”, which features a semi-naked prepubescent girl, was removed from the Ballarat International Photo Biennale on the eve of its opening on 21 August 2011, following child prostitution claims.

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