The Brothers

Their father Bohuslav Reynek was one of the most important Czechoslovak artists of the 20th century, he was a poet, a well-known graphic artist (he is primarily known for his graphic sheets) and a translator from French and German. With the poet Suzanne Renaud, whom he met in 1923, they raised two sons – Daniel and Jiří. For the first ten years, they lived alternately in France and in Petrkov. These spaces also featured prominently in Renynk’s work.

The castle in Petrkov became a “cultural pilgrimage site” in the 1960s. Brothers Jiří and Daniel played an unforgettable role here. Despite the bullying of the then regime, rousing poems and exceptional graphics were created here, after the death of the parents, a conspiratorial atmosphere still persisted here, and on some days the doors did not open here.

Daniel Reynek devoted himself to photography. Inspired by his father Bohuslav, photographs of details similar to the details peering into the world of his graphics won first, from the 1960s he began experimenting with glass negatives, when he began to create photographic montages, in which he mainly captures the surrounding landscape. Daniel Reynek was a sort of photographic impressionist and heir to the fantastic romance of Marc Chagall. The tenderness of butterfly wings, the silhouettes of slender flower stems, the silvery drops of water like pearls, all this brings the game into play. If the traditional truth claims that art teaches a person to look, Daniel Reynek underlined the above thesis twice with his work.

His brother Jiří Reynek was a spiritual and cultural being, he loved his garden and understood plants. Many pages were also written about the Petrkovo cats… Jiří, who was a translator, became better known to the wider public only after his translations of French literature were published, especially the works of Henri Pourrat (Poklady z Auvergne – 1994. O řeřavých očích – 1997, Kašpar z hor – 2001). He also published translations by Francis Jammes, Jean Gion, Charles-Fredinand Ramuz and Marie Noël. Following his father’s example, he himself made author’s graphics and occasionally also writes short prose.

Petrkov was a place where people went for cultural, spiritual and human impulses, both brothers inherited artistic talent from their parents, they always behaved unostentatious and modest. With their deaths in 2014, this place is to some extent disappearing. What will remain are the memories, Jiří’s translations, Daniel’s photographs and finally my documentary photographs of their living space, taken a year before their death, when I last met the Reynek brothers.