|Born:||August 16, 1882|
|Location:||Moravia - now - Czech Republic|
|Field:||Sculpture, Drawing, Ceramics|
|Training:||Vienna, Dresden, Berlin, Brussels and Florence|
Helen Zelezny, also known in Europe as Helene Zelezny-Scholz or Helene Scholzová-Železná (August 16, 1882 – February 18, 1974), was a Czech born sculptor and architectural sculptor. She is also known as an Italian sculptor as she lived and created in Rome, where she was critically acclaimed, for a number of years. She is also known variously as Helena Zelezny-Scholz, or Helen Scholz.
Her mother was the well-known writer and poetess Maria Stona
At the outbreak of the war in 1914 she went to Vienna, where she assumed a position which might be designated as that of Court Sculptor, many portraits of the Imperial family, including the Empress Zita, emerged from her hands.
Returning in 1919 to Italy, having in the interval married Colonel Zelezny, she worked at first in Florence, then in Rome (where she had her studio in Via Margutta No. 54 until her death), usually spending the summer months in her native country.
Her sculptures has been exhibited in Paris, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Philadelphia, Venice and many other places. Her work has place in public galleries and private collections all over Europe and USA.
Unfortunately several of her sculptures were destroyed during the Second World War, among these being the great central altar, representing the life of St. Hedvige, in the Church dedicated to that saint in Troppau, Sudetenland.
Helene Zelezny-Scholz has made more than 300 portraits in marble, bronze and terracotta (busts, reliefs and statuettes), in which she not only renders a striking likeliness, but reflects the soul of the person, the individual secret beauty of each.
She was a fine teacher for more than 1,000 pupils in her lifetime, developing the individuality in each of them. When she returned to Florence after the First World War she started with her first pupils, mostly children. Until the Second World War here pupils were only young girls.
Later when she went to USA (1946–1949) she taught in five different mixed classes at Art Centres in and near Philadelphia, as for instance at the Museum of Art and at Swathmore Collage.From 1949 until her death she had regular classes in her old studio in Rome. In that period she managed to teach more than 700 pupils of different sex, different age and from 12 nations.Work from some of the student can be seen in her own book “My dear Pupils” from 1973.
Zelezny was born and raised in village Třebovice (Strzebowitz), now part of Ostrava city, Austrian Silesia. She studied drawing in Vienna and Dresden, and sculpture in Berlin under Fritz Heinemann (1864–1932), and four years in Brussels under sculptor Charles van der Stappen. Van der Stappen was a portrait and decorative sculpture, as Zelezny is known for.
After one year of study in Paris, she settled down in Florence, at that time the Mecca of young artists. From 1909 to 1913 she learned a lot from Augusto Giacometti whom she also joined to his native home in Schwitzerland. Other artist she was she was in regular contact with was Hans Kestranek (Philosoph, Architect and Painter, 1873–1949), Edward Gordon Craig and Julius Rolshoven.
Subsequently in 1913 she made a long stay in Tunis, finding opportunity there to visit the Musselmen harems and become acquainted with their inmates and customs, an experience which found expression in many characteristic groups and statuettes.
In 1913 Zelezny in Tunis among other things sculpted the outside of a house. Georg Brandes joined her here for 14 days.She moved to Vienna at the beginning of the First World War. She was the most significant representative of the sculpture of north Moravia and Silesia beside Josef Obeth at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.
Her sculptures largely featured sculpted portraits, including members of the Habsburg family, Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Lady Sybil Grahamová,"Il Duce" Benito Mussolini, and 1st President of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1932). She was also commissioned to sculpt monuments such as one to victims of the First World War. She exhibited in a international exhibitions in Berlin and Vienna (1907), in Rome in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery (1932), and in Paris.
Zelezny has work maintained in the permanent collection of the castle Hradec nad Moravicí, several pieces in the Museum Silesie http://www.szmo.cz/ in Opava, some works in Gallery of the Fine Arts at the Museum of Fine Artshttp://www.gvuostrava.cz/ in Ostrava, and in in the [National Gallery in Prague]] in addition to private collections.
Thesis (in Czech):Jůza, Jiří.: H. Z.-Sch., zapomenutá sochařka 1. poloviny 20. století. Diplomová prá¬ce FF UP Olomouc. Olomouc 1996.
in: Gebauer, Josef. Chrám sv. Hedviky v Opavě. In: Vlastivědné listy, 1994, Vol. 20, Nr. 1, p. 21-23.