|Emil Kosa, Sr. |
A painter and a craftsman, Emil Kosa Sr. was born in Czechoslovakia on April 20, 1876. Kosa worked with his father making marionettes for his theater. He moved to Paris to work as an assistant to his longtime friend, the renowned Czech painter, Alphonse Mucha. In Paris he met his first wife, Jeanne Mares Kosa, a French pianist at the Paris opera. She gave birth to their first son, artist Emil Kosa Jr., in 1903. Three years later she died of tuberculosis.
Kosa remarried and in 1908, the family moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, so that Kosa could continue designing theatrical posters and painting murals with Mucha. In 1912 his second wife gave birth to two daughters and the family moved back to Brno, Czechoslovakia (Austria-Hungary) but soon became caught in the middle of World War I. Kosa joined the Red Cross, as a way to provide food for his family. He brought his son along with him on his travels.
After the war the family went back to America. By 1924, Kosa had settled in Los Angeles with his son, who was following in his father’s foot steps and becoming a great painter. They lived together on a sloping hill on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. They opened their house generously to like minded intellectuals such as Joseph S. Roucek who describes “the old Kosa” as fascinating “with his flashing eyes, black beard, and artistic temperament… He had his artistic fits, working furiously at times, brooding at other times, and soothing once in a while his temper by long-winded lectures on ignorance of art in Hollywood” (McClelland pg.8)
Emil Kosa Sr. made puppets which he used as models for his paintings. He continued to exhibit locally in Los Angeles until his death on May 11, 1955.
Exhibited: California Art Club, 1936, 1938; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1927, 1931; All- California Show, 1939; Los Angeles County Fair, 1940; California Heritage Museum, 2005.
Works Held: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (End of the Trail).
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.
McClelland, Gordon, T. “Emil Kosa Jr.” 1990