Jan Vondrous (yahn von-drōs, Czech/American, 1884-1956) is best known for his work as an architectural etcher. He emigrated to the United States at an early age and studied at the National Academy of Design in New York with George W. Maynard, Francis C. Jones, and James D. Smillie. Vandrous’s first etchings were published during the First World War and focused primarily on architectural views of New York and environs. He won a bronze medal for printmaking at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
After the end of the war (1918), Vondrous spent much of the following decade etching architectural scenes of major European cities, particularly Bruges and Venice. During this time, he maintained both his permanent home and studio in Long Island.
In 1929, however, Vondrous re-settled in his native Czechoslovakia and continued to both etch and paint the people and architecture of Prague where he lived and worked.
His images combine a strong sense of abstract design with selective, evocative detail. They are not dry records of endless facts about construction, but moody observations of environments and the people who inhabit or pass through them.
Vondrous exhibited extensively in Europe and America, and with the Hollar Society of Prague, Chicago Society of Etchers, Brooklyn Society of Etchers, and the California Society of Printmakers. Examples of his original etchings are included in such collections as:
Modern Gallery of Prague
Art Institute of Chicago
Congressional Library, Washington, DC
New York Public Library
Kupferstich Kabinett, Berlin
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cleveland Museum of Art
Harvard University Art Museums
Smithsonian American Art Museum
British Museum, London