Jiří Kolář

Czech, 1914-2002

Cycladic Heads

Jirí Kolár (Czech, 1914–2002). Cycladic Heads, 1976. Chiasmage on wood, 15 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 5 7/8 inches (39.4 x 45.1 x 14.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Evelyn Rumsey Cary Fund, 1977 (1977:12). © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

© Estate of Jiří Kolář / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Cycladic Heads, 1976

Artwork Details


chiasmage on wood


overall: 15 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 5 7/8 inches (39.37 x 45.08 x 14.92 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum


Evelyn Rumsey Cary Fund, 1977

Accession ID


In 1978, Albright-Knox Curator Charlotta Kotik organized the exhibition Jiří Kolář: Transformations, which included this work, inspired by a visit the artist made to the museum in the mid-1970s. Intrigued by the museum’s Cycladic Figure of a Woman, created by an ancient culture that lived in the Cyclades Islands off the coast of Greece around 3200–2300 BCE, he bought a reproduction of the work in the museum’s shop and had multiple wooden copies made. He covered each head with references to Greek contributions to Western civilization: astronomy, music, and poetry. Allusions to important periods of interest in ancient Greece are also incorporated—the wax seals refer to the fifteenth-century Renaissance patrons of classical scholarship, and the base is covered with sixteenth-century, classically inspired imagery. The pedestals refer to the Olympic Games, which began in Greece and continue today; the year Kolář created this work, 1976, was an Olympic year.

Label from Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s, March 30–July 8, 2012