František Lukáš (Lustig)
"I came back from the concentration camps with undermined health, and a new name of František Lukáš. I had been drawing and painting through all those horrors. In Terezín, a group of painters, such as Fritta, Ungar, Kien, Haas, Fleischmann, Aussenberg, Bloch and others took me among themselves. Today, I am the last living member of the Terezín group of painters. " (1991)František Lukáš: K Osmdesátým Narozeninám (ex. cat.),
Státní židovské muzeum, Prague, May 16- June 30, 1991, n.p.
Born in Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1911. Died in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1996.
Lukáš began painting as a child. After completing his secondary education, he studied architecture and painting at the Prague Technological Institute. His works were first displayed publicly in 1933, in an exhibition sponsored by the Mánes Association of Fine Artists. Over time, the Mánes Association became a second home for Lukáš, who initially joined as an apprentice before becoming a full member. Following the German occupation, the group expelled its Jewish members. On December 4, 1941, Lukáš was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, where he worked in the printing workshop of the Technical Department, located in the Magdeburg Barracks. Along with the other artists who worked there, he was forced to produce propaganda material for the Germans. On May 18, 1944, he was transported to Auschwitz, and subsequently to the Sachsenhausen, Schwarzheide and Oranienburg concentration camps. He was evacuated on a death march to the Cottbus concentration camp, where he was liberated by the Red Army.
After his liberation, Lukáš returned to Prague. He worked in the film industry, directing documentary films about art. He also continued to paint and his works were exhibited in numerous galleries. They were well received and brought him success.
During the three years he was interned in Theresienstadt, Lukáš immortalized the inmates, focusing on portraits of actors and performing artists. His animated and humorous portraits emphasize, in a highly expressive and exaggerated style, the actors’ and performers’ facial expressions while performing on stage.
Yad Vashem holds 24 of the artist’s portraits in its collection.