Jaroslava Brychtova, Creator of Monumental Glass Art, Dies at 95
It was in Zelezny Brod, in the early 1950s, that Ms. Brychtova met Mr. Libensky, who was the director of the glass school and, like her, married at the time. They divorced their spouses, causing a minor scandal, and embarked on the fruitful partnership that first drew notice at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, where they showed colored glass blocks with reliefs of wild animals.
In Communist Czechoslovakia, where the couple made their seminal work, artists who might have otherwise been censored could hide out in the “minor” art of glass while pursuing ideas like abstraction. The couple’s work was underwritten by the state, at least initially, and they exhibited at World Expos in Montreal in 1967 and Osaka, Japan, in 1970.
They also created many public works in the Czech Republic, including the facade of the National Theater and the stained-glass windows for St. Vitus Cathedral, both in Prague, as well as a relief inside the striking Jested Tower.
After the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Communists cracked down on artists. Ms. Brychtova and Mr. Libensky were expelled from the party and forbidden to travel abroad together for a time.
Over the decades, as their international reputation grew and their work was displayed at the Met and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, a younger generation of female glass artists drew inspiration from Ms. Brychtova.
She is survived by two sons, Jaroslav and Milos Zahradnik, and a daughter, Alena Vavrikova, all from her first marriage.
A stylish woman with a distinctive mop top of gray hair, Ms. Brychtova retained an “age-defying curiosity” about art and culture to the end of her life, Ms. Heller said. But she stopped making glass works after the death of Mr. Libensky, telling the Czech News Agency on the occasion of her 90th birthday: “It is impossible without Stanislav. I am used to working in a couple. Without him, it just isn’t right.”