Belohorsky was a Czech artist who arrived at St Ives as a refugee in WWII. Whybrow finds him, along with his family (Jana and Eva), introduced into the St Ives arts community at STIAC.
David Tovey has contributed further information: (2014)
Joza BelohorskyShow Day: 1945STISA: 1942-1946STISA Touring Shows: 1945. Belohorsky was a Czech artist, who came to St Ives as a refugee during World War II, where he was warmly welcomed by the artistic community. When I wrote Creating A Splash, I could find very little information about his time in St Ives and nothing about the rest of his life. However, in April 2011, I was contacted by Mark Pemberton, whose father had acquired a number of works off Belohorsky, whilst, in late 2013, one of his grand-daughters got in touch with me and told me a little about his difficult family background. Joza was actually born as Joseph Svasta in Austria. His date of birth is not known by his family. He married firstly Jozafina Knoblichova, with whom he had four children - the two youngest being Mirka (later known as Martha) in 1924 and Jaruska (later known as Sylvia) in 1930. The latter was born in Vince, France. However, in c.1933, it appears that Jozafina abandoned her family. Joza moved the children to Prague, where he remarried a Jewish hat-maker, Eva Furgison, with whom he had two further daughters, Ivana and Sonia. Joza was strongly anti-Nazi, as is reflected in several pieces of his art, and disowned his two eldest children, a son and a daughter, because of their Nazi sympathies. With a Jewish wife as well, it was necessary for him to leave Prague after the German occupation, and, whilst he and Eva went to Paris, he sent Martha and Sylvia to a school for Czech refugee children in the south of France. In 1939, he and Eva came to England on their own, but Czech soldiers managed to get Martha and Sylvia onto a cattle boat to Liverpool, where Joza linked up with them again in late 1939. However, whilst Sylvia lived with her father and Eva for a while, Mirka decided not to and both children had bitter memories of their father. Joza was primarily a portrait painter and his exhibits included a portrait of George Manning Sanders but he also worked in pastels and did etchings, which were considered original in treatment and unique in outlook. Mark Pemberton owned a self portrait done in 1938, which shows a thick-necked, bespectacled man, with a jutting jaw, whose hair has receded almost completely from the top of his head. It is not particularly flattering. However, there were also some attractive drawings of girls, possibly one or more of his daughters. These are in a distinctive style and demonstrate good draughtsmanship. His etchings include one of St Nicholas Chapel on The Island, St Ives, framed by rocks, and a most novel, fanciful depiction of a cromlech, where figures bearing the weight of the top stone are shown carved into the supporting stones. Possibly due to Belohorsky’s presence in the colony, Borlase Smart, in typical fashion, felt that art would be good therapy for the Czech soldiers stationed in St Ives and, in July 1943, he arranged for the soldiers to put on a display of art in STISA’s Gallery. This was opened by Leonard Fuller. Belohorsky featured on Show Day in 1945 and was represented in the 1945 touring show. However, there is no further reference to him. He appears to have given up his art and he and Eva became involved in a scarf-making business, which resulted in a tour of several American east-coast cities during 1945. This, however, eventually went into liquidation in 1949, when they were living in Leonards-by-the-Sea, Sussex. Joza was still alive in 1968, but his precise date of death is unknown.
Primarily a portrait painter, he also worked in pastels, and did etchings
works and access
Works include: (portrait) George Manning Sanders
Lanham's Autumn Show 1944
STISA 1945 Touring Show
misc further info
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p313);
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash
Whybrow (1994) St Ives