Foundation to install V+W museum in Werich villa on Kampa Island
Prague, Feb 15 (ČTK) — The Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation has won a tender for renting the historical Werich villa in Prague, where it plans to establish a museum devoted to a popular duo of the late comic actors Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich, daily Právo writes.
The villa in the beautiful and prestigious locality on the central Kampa island near the Vltava River is owned by the Prague 1 district. It has been unused and subject to disputes for many years and it is in a bad technical state.
A commission of experts has chosen the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation as the winner of the tender in which the Charter 77 Foundation and the Post Bellum group also competed, Právo writes.
The Prague 1 assembly is expected to approve the choice in March, it says.
In the past, the villa was inhabited by Josef Dobrovský, the 18th-19th century National Revival movement’s leading intellectual. In the 20th century its inhabitants were poet Vladimír Holan and actor Jan Werich (both 1905-1980).
Before renting the villa, Prague 1 plans its reconstruction, which should be completed this year, Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký is quoted as saying.
Apart from the museum and a gallery, the villa is to host lecture rooms and an educational center.
Voskovec and Werich won immense popularity as a protagonist comic duo in Prague’s inter-war Free Theater, an avant-garde left- and anti-fascist oriented theater scene.
After U.S. exile during World War II, they returned home but Voskovec (1905-1981) emigrated definitively after the communist coup in 1948, while Werich lived and performed as a theater manager and theater and film actor in Czechoslovakia until his death.
The Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation is also linked to the Kampa Museum gallery, which was established in another historical building on the island in 2003. It offers central European modern art including a noteworthy collection of works by František Kupka.