“If a nation's culture survives, then so too does the nation”

Jan Mládek

Meda Mládek was born in Zákupy in Northern Bohemia. In 1946 she moved to Switzerland, where she studied Economics in Geneva, and published jointly with other exiles from Czechoslovakia a magazine called Současnost (Present Time). She then moved to Paris, where she studied Art History at the Sorbonne and at L'Ecole du Louvre. In Paris, she set up the first Czechoslovakian exile publishing company, Edition Sokolova, whose debut title was a book on the Czech painter Toyen, written by André Breton, followed by a volume of verse by Ivan Blatný, and the writings of Ferdinand Peroutka. Jan Mládek was born in Poland in 1912, and studied in Prague. In 1939 he left for England, where he studied under Lord Keynes in London. Later on, he was asked by Czechoslovakia's President Edvard Beneš to work in the U.S. for the adoption of the Marshall Plan after World War II. In 1945 he became one of the first Governors of the International Monetary Fund. Meda and Jan Mládek met in Paris in 1953, and in 1960 settled permanently in Washington, D.C. All throughout their life together, they never ceased to render support to Czechoslovak artists. Importantly, they also built a major art collection, a brilliant achievement that began with one small painting by František Kupka.

Jan Mládek died shortly before the 1989 Revolution in Czechoslovakia. It therefore, was up to Meda Mládek herself to fulfill her late husband's wish and present their collection as a gift to the City of Prague, and to reconstruct the historical premises of Sova's Mills (Sovovy mlýny), an old run-down mill located in the heart of the city, as the home for the collection. At present, Jan and Meda Mládek's dream is finally close to coming true, with the emergence of the Museum Kampa.

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