Born in Czechoslovakia, 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. Vondrous’s first etchings focused primarily on architectural views of New York and environs.
Vondrous spent much of the decade following WWI etching architectural scenes of major European cities, particularly Bruges and Venice. During this time, he maintained a 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.