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Frank Kortan

Frank Kortan


Frank Kortan

„Anyone who decides to become an artist, regardless of style, I can advise following these four tips:

  • Find the best teacher,

  • Be persistent,

  • Stay humble,

  • And Believe in luck!“



Frank Kortan, born April 22, 1964, in Prague, Czech Republic, is a painter who works in styles of Surrealism, Fantastic Realism, and Trompe-l'oeil. He is a winner of the World Prize of Salvador Dalí for fine arts.

He currently lives in Egloffstein Bavaria (Germany).


Kortan started his professional artistic career in Prague, Czechoslovakia as a musician. In 1984 he emigrated very adventurously to Ticino in Switzerland; and moved again to Germany after one year.


When he arrived in Germany, it turned out that it was not easy to find a permanent job as a professional musician in the music genre of his expertly. Therefore, he looked for new opportunities, and as he had always been passionate about painting from a young age, he decided to become a painter.


Oil painting as a supreme discipline has always fascinated him. Still, first, he wanted to study the perfect technique to implement his ideas and themes without any technical limitations.

Frank Kortan

The Path

Kortan started studying painting techniques very intensively.

He met an artist group that worked in the "Trompe-l'oeil" style („deceive the eye“), which means a representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the thing.


However, most painters have used this technique only for classical still lives, whether it was in the Middle Ages or the present. That was not enough for him, therefore developed his style further and combined Trompe-l'oeil with Surrealism & Fantastic Realism.

Frank Kortan

Although combining different styles is unusual, it fascinated him as it offered countless expression possibilities.


  • On one side, it is Surrealism as an expression of freedom of mind and imagination.

  • On the other side, it is the meticulously accurate interpretation of painted objects which must convince and captivate the viewer.


Because the quality of a painting is essential for him, it is not uncommon for him to work on a single painting for almost a full year. Therefore, in reality, the charisma of such a painting is unique.


He says about his recognition value, „For me is important that my style is clearly recognizable after finalizing. Everybody must say this is a “Kortan.”


It can not be overlooked that the icon of Fantastic Realism, the Austrian painter Prof. Ernst Fuchs also had a significant influence on Kortan‘s art.

He commented:

“It's highly gratifying to see that there still exist artists such as Frank Kortan, who have tasted from the elixir of Emperor Rudolph II and, in the spirit of the noble art of Mannerism, keep presenting its mastery to our contemporaries' eyes. The mastery that had already seemed extinct is essential to creating magnificent paintings in the style of the old master. May his works open the eyes of all those who have become blind through pointless art so that they can understand the language of paintings again.”

Kortan paints exclusively on wood because a wooden surface can be primed perfectly and is most optimal for his purpose.


He is using the priming method according to the guidelines of the Old Masters, as this has been proven effective for hundreds of years. The result is a highly smooth surface without imperfections, as delicate as a mirror.


Furthermore, it allows him to paint the finest details in several layers on top of each other, creating an optical 3D illusion, which is used in the Trompe-l'oeil style.

Frank Kortan

Kortan has always focused on playing in the so-called 1st league, so his inspirations were only the most outstanding personalities in literature, music, and art.


He has great respect and admiration for big names like Johann Sebastian Bach, Hieronymus Bosch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Franz Kafka, Count Basie, Frank Zappa, Jacques Poirier, Philippe de Champagne, and many others. He implements in his works different themes that are composed of reality, imagination, and hiding humor.


His unique style and contemporary characters portray historical personalities, such as the legendary singer Karel Gott or the writer Ephraim Kishon.

Kortan says, „One of these influential people was undoubtedly my friend Ephraim Kishon, a famous Israeli author and one of the best satirists in the world.


He belongs clearly to the wisest people I personally have ever known, and I often had the honor of being a guest in his house. I created a painting for Ephraim Kishon called „MATINÈE FOR LISA AND HER FRIENDS“ in my specific style


Ephraim Kishon



„In our hazy days, when beauty and art have dutifully disappeared from Beau Art, some artists like Frank Kortan still paint with courage and sacred stubbornness in their own and individual style, but in the spirit and with the skills of the old masters.


The picture Frank painted of me in his incomparable mastery is the best I've ever seen of myself, including the one I saw in my bathroom mirror.


I've talked to myself many times, but I've never been so silent before. The picture says it all. The painter recognized me. There is no greater compliment. “


An artist of transcendental intimacy

Prof. Dr. Miroslav Klivar, A member of The American Society for Aesthetics

When perceiving the artistic creation of Frank Kortan, we are down if we want to apply the methods and clichés of classical art history.


We have to turn to the newest spiritual and theoretical conceptions from various fields of anthropology. We are led to it by honest intentions to get into the aesthetics of Frank Kortan.


The inspirations for the artistic creation of this painter are near to the surrealistic aesthetics of free imaginations and associations, the experience of the subconscious and nonconscious defined by Freud. But not everything created by Kortan can be explained in this way. According to him, antitheses cease to be "real or imaginative"; he is a follower of the relativity of existence.


When contemplating Kortan's artistic creation, we remember the words of André Breton from the Second Manifesto of Surrealism. He says that a surrealistic activity aims to define "a certain spiritual point from which life and death, authentic and imaginative, past and present, notifiable and on notifiable, high and low cease to be perceived as antitheses.


" Kortan's everyday motives express his love of dreaming which has been named "Via Regia" - nonconsciousness. Nevertheless, we cannot confine the perception of Kortan to classical psychoanalysis.


It seems that the most truthful are concepts that Gaston Bachelard applied in his Phenomenology of Dreaming, where he distinguished the values of dreams. In this respect, Kortan is a master of absolute dreams and half-dream.


In his paintings full of "old" and "new" eternity, we register something, which is named "dreaming about dreaming." Kortan's absolute dream of night sleep is, in fact, a Universe. We acquaint with Kortan's animism: nothing is death in his still lives - everything is live.



The activity of subconsciousness is evident: one motive is replaced by another; psychical accents are transferred to other ones. Aesthetic condensation, defined by psychoanalysis, is substantial: two - or more - imaginations combine and create more complex images with more profound meaning and stronger energy.


We register out-of-sensuous perception, especially the transfer of aesthetic meanings. As a matter of fact, Kortan is one of the world's avant-gardists because his paintings are near to "individual mythology," which is focused on the retrospective classification of the past and inspired by the "tracks of human civilization" and emphasizes "the re-vitalization of fragments."


While Anne and Patrick Poirier look for archeological inspirations, Nikolaus Lang depicts the atmosphere of a Bavarian family, and Jürgen Brodwolf paints miniature shop windows; Frank Kortan confines himself neither to a metaphor nor a concrete event. We have to point out Kortan's aesthetics, which reflect the out-of-sensuous psychology of C.A.Mace, who presupposes the existence of a "psychical ether" through which the waves of thought spread and in which the tracks of events remain.


In addition, the aspect of temptation is presumed. If he did not admire the symbolic-sexual aspects of a woman nude, he would not be a surrealist. Nevertheless, these aspects oscillate between latent, evident, and mysterious in his artistic creation. These are the symbols of women. As unconsciousness follows the principles of delight and not reality - as we learn from psychoanalysis - Kortan expresses the eternity of delight. He reminds the words of Nietzsche on his tablet in Sils-Maria See in Upper Engadin: "Every delight is eternity."


Kortan invites introspection and purification from the sentimentality of civilization. He wants a man to be immune against any tie resulting from work and the world of things. In this respect, he is "transcendental." In this respect, we can cite an idea from Indian spiritual culture: "A work which does not cause any tie is a work with the transcendental result, i.e., karma-yoga."


Kortan does not aim at the Absolute Personality of the Deity: he represents a happy soul and wants everybody to be like him ...


Frank Kortan



Frank Kortan's works are in public as well as private collections worldwide.

His oil paintings have been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the globe.


Exhibitions (selection)

  • 1996 Galerie MIRO, Prague, Czech Republic

  • 1999 Galerie MIRO, Prague, Czech Republic

  • 2001 Salon de la Residence du Louvre, Menton, Monaco Modern Art Museum, Monaco

  • 2003 Salon d’Automne, Paris, France
    Salvador Dali Ausstellung, Musée Baron Martin, Grey, France

  • 2004 Centre Culturel Peugeot, Paris, France
    Adam und Eva, Albrecht Dürer Haus, Nürnberg, Germany

  • 2005 Salvador Dali Exhibition, Musée Baron Martin Gray, France

  • 2006 Graphische Sammlung, Albrecht Dürer Haus, Nürnberg, Germany
    Gallery North at European Parlament, Strasbourg, France
    Zeitgenössische Kunst, Art Affair Galerie, Regensburg, Germany
    Mona Lisa, Neues Rathaus, Brünn, Czech Republic
    Dalis Erben, Art Affair Galerie, Regensburg, Germany
    Salon du Fantastique Schloss Sedan, France
    Mona Lisa, Palais Nostic, Kultusministerium, Prague, Czech Republic

  • 2007 Allegretti Palazzo Bertalazone di san Fermon Torino, Italy
    Salon comparaisons, Grand Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, France
    Saint Germain des Angles, France
    Mona Lisa, Pressburg, Slovakia
    Galerie Sima, Paris, France

  • 2008 Chapelle des Jesuites, Chaumont sur Mame, France
    Altes Rathaus, Viechtach, Germany
    A L’Ecu de France Gallery, Viroflay, France
    Die Kunst des Portraits, Stadtmuseum Erlangen, Germany

  • 2009 Galleria Renaissance, Florenz, Italy
    Galleria Comunale di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Piombino, Italy
    Art centre, Schloss Vascoeuil, France
    Commerzbank Prag, Czech Republic
    Czech contemporary art – Parallel lines III, Moskau, Russia

  • 2010 OPEN Arts – Brüssel, Belgium

  • 2011 Salon d’Automne Paris, France
    Barockschloss Riegersburg, Austria
    Ducal Palace Nevers, France

  • 2012 HIP Galerie d’art Paris, France

  • 2014 Callas Bremen, Bilder der Nacht – so hell, Germany
    Cultural Center Valéry-Larboud, Vichy, France

  • 2015 Trompe-l'oeil, Konschthaus beim Engel, Luxembourg
    Trierenberg Art, Traun, Austria

  • 2016 Glück, Galerie m Beck, Homburg, Germany

  • 2017 Real – Surreal – Irreal, Villa Berberich, Bad Säckingen, Germany


Museums Collections

  • Monaco Modern Art Museum (Monaco)

  • Albrecht Dürer Haus Nürnberg (Germany)

  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Santiago (Chile)

  • Museo d'Arte Mendrisio (Switzerland) 

  • Levi Strauss Museum Buttenheim (Germany) 

  • Bibliothéque Royale Albert I. Bruxelles (Belgium)

  • National Contemporary Art Museum Lord Eastleigh Foundation, Seborga, Italy



  • European Prize for fine Arts by the European Union of Arts

  • European Medal of Franz Kafka for Artistic Creation

  • European Prize F. Kupka

  • European Prize of Rudolf II

  • 1st prize PALM ART AWARD 2011, Art Domain Germany

  • TOILE D'OR 2011, Fédération Nationale de la Culture Française

  • Who is Publisher Prize 2014, PALM ART AWARD, Art Domain Germany

  • MERIT AWARD 2017, PALM ART AWARD, Art Domain Germany


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