Bohumír Koubek

* 1931  †︎ 2018

  • “I don’t know if I was born like this, but I’ve loved puppets and puppet theatre since I was a child. As a small boy, my father used to take me to puppet shows in the Prague library, which is where the Realm of Puppets theatre resided and still resides. So he’d take me there, and I visited the shows as a boy. I started going there by myself, I was the only boy in the theatre, and I went there like I was going home, for the performances. And in the meantime I had already started training woodcarving at the Žižkov Furnishings Industry School.”

  • “I used to frequent a place down at the bottom of Wenceslaus Square - there was a snack bar there, down on the corner. I used to go there for a sandwich. And one time, I look and there at the window - of the snack bar Koruna - I see Jan Zrzavý, standing, holding a cup of coffee, drinking with his spoon and sipping. He’s by the window and he’s looking at the bustle outside. Now or never, I thought to myself. I came up to him, introduced myself, I had an excuse of course, I wanted him to sign my book. And he said, then come by on such and such a day. So I came to his place, he had a lady there, a cook, although he could cook himself. So I started visiting him, until we became very good friends. And when the friendship was quite secure, I dared to ask him, beg of him, if he would sit as a model for me as a sculptor, that I would make his portrait. He said, very well, I’ll sit for you, though I wouldn’t for any other.”

  • “If hatred cumulates somewhere, it’s bad. It always comes to hit you in the end. That’s the way it is, that the things you send out are the things you get back. So if there’s some kind of fighting against others somewhere, it’ll eventually come back to hurt the people who caused it.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Kamenická ulice, Praha 7, 23.03.2017

    duration: 01:02:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Love your neighbour

01 - Bohumir Koubek - Young
01 - Bohumir Koubek - Young
photo: archiv pamětníka

Academic sculptor and carver Bohumír Koubek was born on 8 November 1931 in Březové Hory near Příbram. His birth was attended by Dr Richard Fibich, son of the prominent Czech composer Zdeněk Fibich. The family moved to Prague, and after completing elementary school and town school (lower and upper primary school), he trained as a woodcarver. As a youth he attended puppet shows. After making the acquaintance of artist Vojtěch Sucharda, he got a job at the Realm of Puppets theatre in Prague, where he later served as artistic director. One of his classmates at the University of Art and Industry in Prague was the sculptor Olbram Zoubek. Bohumír Koubek’s greatest works include the busts of painters Jan Zrzavý and Max Švabinský. In 2008 he received a notable award - the gold medal of Josef Kajetán Tyl. Bohumír Koubek died on August 29, 2018.