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Jaromír Stretti-Zamponi


(June 11, 1882, Plasy - December 29, 1959, Prague, Czech Republic / Czechoslavakian)


Jaromír Stretti was born in a prominent family.  His grandfather was a merchant, and his father Karl Stretti a physician in the service of the Metternich family.  Jaromír is today mostly known as an engraver, who took his maternal name of Zamponi early on, eventually hyphenating his name to Stretty-Zamponi.  The painters and lithographers Viktor Stretti (1878-1957) and Mario Stretti (1910-1960) are, respectively, his brother and his son.


Where Stretti-Zamponi lived at a given time seems hard to pin down.  However, it is certain that he spent time in Paris in the early 1910s, before the onset of the First World War.  It is also very likely that, given their young age, and the central role played by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the onset of World War I, both Jaromír and Viktor took some role in The Great War.  Which sort of role is unclear.  Beyond the War it seems Prague was Jaromír’s home.  He may have lived elsewhere, in France or Italy, or simply visited for stretches of time.


As an artist Stretti-Zamponi was mostly was self-taught, though he clearly received some direction in the development of his technical skills in making aquatints.  Did he learn from fellow Czechoslavakian active in Paris, Tavik Frantisek Simon (1877-1942)?  It is possible.  Or he simply started visiting one of the many studios making intaglio prints in Paris early in the 20th century, such as the one directed by Eugène Delâtre.  Beyond his time in Paris, where he printed his work is completely unclear.  He may have simply set up his own workshop/studio.


Jaromír Stretti-Zamponi depicted mostly cities, and almost exclusively in fall and winter.  He seems to have had a predilection for drawing the cold and often snowy landscapes of Northern European cities.  Paris and Prague dominate in his oeuvre, but Venice, London, and lesser known cities, as well as castles and other buildings also make appearances.


Stretti-Zamponi belonged both the the Hollar Group of Czech artists, while in Paris, and then to the association of fine artists named Manès in Prague.  The latter still exists today.