PROFILE OF AN ARTIST
About Jiri Hanzalek's Career
Jiri Hanzalek is a celebrated Czech-Canadian artist, renowned for his intricate sculptures and significant contributions to the world of art. Born on March 7, 1926, in the former Czechoslovakia, Jiri's artistic journey began with rigorous training at the College of Fine Arts in Zlin and continued at the esteemed Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. There, he had the honor of studying under the renowned Professor Otakar Spaniel in the Special Master School and later undertook a postgraduate fellowship to further hone his skills.
His undeniable talent led to his works being prominently displayed. Six of his pieces grace the halls of the National Gallery in Prague, and many more are found in both public and private collections, showcasing his widespread recognition.
In 1964, Jiri's expertise and dedication to the craft were acknowledged when he was appointed the Professor of Sculpture at the Sculpture College in Horice, Czechoslovakia. By 1968, his talents further flourished when he was awarded the Prize of the City of Pilsen, a recognition for his remarkable outdoor sculptural works.
However, 1968 also marked a dramatic change in Jiri's life. Following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he moved to Canada. Despite being in a new country, his passion for art never waned. He continued his teaching journey, educating aspiring artists in Figural Sculpture at the University of Western Ontario during 1971-73. Further solidifying his position in the Canadian art scene, he took on the role of Director at the St. Thomas Art Gallery from 1973 to 1980.
Jiri's artistry gained widespread admiration in Canada. He showcased his works at various esteemed locations, including the University of Windsor and public galleries in cities like London, Sarnia, Woodstock, Owen Sound, Brantford, and St. Thomas. His signature pieces in Canada encompass the bust of the famed Canadian publisher, Frederick Kerr, and the annual plaque awarded from 1983 to 2001 to the main speaker at the UWO Annual Lecture in Paediatric and Community Dentistry. Additionally, his captivating bronze statuary of "Mother and Child" stands proudly in front of the St. Thomas Public Library.
Today, Jiri Hanzalek continues to breathe life into sculptures from his studio located in London, Ontario. His journey, marked by perseverance, adaptability, and unmatched skill, solidifies him as a beacon in the art world.
Born: March 7, 1926, Czechoslovakia.
Studies: College of Fine Arts in Zlin and Academy of Fine Arts in Prague - Special Master School of Professor Otakar Spaniel, followed by one year of postgrad. fellowship.
Six works in the National Gallery in Prague and in various public and private collections.
In 1964 appointed professor of Sculpture at the Sculpture College in Horice, Czechoslovakia.
In 1968 awarded the Prize of the City of Pilsen for creation of outdoor sculptural works in the area.
Came to Canada in the Fall of 1968 after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Taught Figural Sculpture at the University of Western Ontario in 1971-72 and 1972-73.
Director of St. Thomas Art Gallery 1973-80.
University of Windsor, Public Galleries in London, Sarnia, Woodstock, Owen Sound, Brantford, St. Thomas.
Main works in Canada:
The bust of Canadian publisher Frederick Kerr.
The plaque, awarded yearly from 1983 until 2001 to the main speaker at the UWO Annual Lecture in Paediatric
and Community Dentistry.
The bronze statuary of Mother and Child in front of St. Thomas Public Library.