“In 1966 we collaborated with Jan Fišar
on our work for the World Fair EXPO Montreal. His sculptural background and his out-standing feeling for the work’s technological basis were of immense advantage for us during its realisation.
To our great pleasure he then completely dedicated himself to glass. He found his own form of expression, making a worthy contribution to contemporary glass art.”Stanislav Libenský
Jaroslava Brychtová (2001)

Jan Fišar was born on 30 December 1933 in Hořovice, near Prague, the Czech Republic. His father was a tax official and his mother took care of the family. In 1935 his sister Emilie came into the world. After his father was transferred, the family moved to Prague, where Fišar began school.
At the end of the Second World War, their flat in Prague was bombed; the greatest tragedy was the loss of his father who was killed. His mother, now alone with son and daughter, was without means until they found shelter at his grandmother’s, back in Hořovice. The tragedy indelibly marked the life of his mother and sister and very soon forced Jan Fišar to take responsibility not only for himself, but also for others. The need to stand on his own two feet and depend on no one became essential to him.
At that time he attended a grammar school in Beroun and later in Prague. In 1948 he transferred to the woodcarving department at the Housing Industry College (after Secondary School of Decorative Arts), graduating in 1952. The following year he found work as a stucco modeller at the Film Studios in Prague-Barrandov. He then studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, in Professor Josef Wágner’s sculpture studio.
Today he says of him: “That great teacher educated many outstanding Czech sculptors and his views on fine art influenced my career.” Even then Jan Fišar welcomed any work that would allow him to gain new experiences. For example, in 1958 he collaborated in casting a Gothic diamond-vault from Slavonice for the World Exposition in Brussels. To prove that no material was alien to him, he made objects of various materials for his diploma – polychrome wood, ceramics and stone.

testThe Inner Space, 1968
Corning Museum of Glass USA

After finishing his studies, he received commissions as a free-lance artist. Initially he earned a living helping older artists in the realisation of their sculptures by modelling and casting. At the same time he undertook his first freelance commissions. Following a long friendship, he married in 1962. The marriage ended in divorce two years later, however.
At this time Jan Fišar decided to found his own studio. In the Czech­o­slovakia of that period, where apartments of any kind were in short supply, such a desire involved incredible effort as well as money. To achieve his goal, Jan Fišar worked for two years as a night stoker for buildings in the Vinohrady district of Prague. During the day he was then able to construct his rented studio. He married a second time in 1965 and two years later became father to twins, Marek and Jan.
In 1966, the prominent glass artists Professor Stanislav Libenský and his wife Jaroslava Brychtová offered him the chance to collaborate on their project for the 1967 World Exposition in Montreal. Jan Fišar, as sculptor who could model and cast, was to help realise their monumental sculptures for the Czecho­slovak exhibition. Given his situation, this was a welcome opportunity, which he gladly accepted. This is how he first encountered glass art, little suspecting that this material would determine his entire future.

The responsibility for his young family, the lack of a proper flat and financial worries led him to abandon his now finished ­Prague studio. Jan Fišar and his wife Eliška Roñátová, painter and graduate of Professor Stanislav Libenský’s glass studio, took on regular employment in Železný Brod, 100 km north of Prague. In the glass company Železnobrodské sklo, his wife worked in the mosaic department and Jan Fišar in the molten glass department. At this time he began experiment­ing with glass. From 1966 to 1968 he produced smaller works from molten glass with moulded interiors, based loosely on his plaster models. Fišar made these technically demanding and for the time unusual objects of molten glass, stand­ing on metal bases, within the framework of his employment at Železnobrodské sklo. They are signed one-offs. The company had the right to sell or give them away and it is therefore difficult to ascertain where they are today. The works depicted in this book remained the property of the artist by chance. They clearly show that Jan Fišar used his newly acquired technical skills for his artistic ends. Today the work “Inner Space”, 1968, is in the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass in the USA.

Top