Meda Mládková

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Meda Mládková
Mládková in 2014
Marie Magdalena Františka Sokolová

(1919-09-08)8 September 1919
Died3 May 2022(2022-05-03) (aged 102)
Prague, Czech Republic
OccupationArt collector and historian
Spouse(s)Jan Viktor Mládek
AwardsMedal of Merit
Artis Bohemiae Amicis Medal
Commander of the Order of the White Double Cross

Marie Magdalena Františka "Meda" Mládková (née Sokolová, 8 September 1919 – 3 May 2022) was a Czech art collector. Her husband, Jan Viktor Mládek [cs] (1911–1989), was an economist and a governor of the IMF. Having spent several years in exile, she returned to Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Early life

Marie Magdalena Františka Sokolová was born on 8 September 1919 within the premises of the Zákupy castle, where her father was working as a brewer.[1] Her family later decided to move to Brandýs nad Labem.[2] She moved to Switzerland in 1946 to study Economics in Geneva, where she earned her Ph.D.[3] Together with other exiles from Czechoslovakia she published a magazine called Současnost (transl. Present Time). By February 1948, she decided not to return to Czechoslovakia. She consequently went to Paris, where she studied Art History at the Sorbonne and at L'Ecole du Louvre between 1955 and 1960.[4]


During her time in Paris, Mládková founded the first Czechoslovak exile publishing company called Edition Sokolova. One of its first published titles was a volume of verse by Ivan Blatný, and the writings of Ferdinand Peroutka.[4] She also became acquainted with Jan Viktor Mládek, an economist and fellow emigrant. He oversaw the interim administration of Czechoslovakia's central bank in the aftermath of World War II,[5] and in 1945 became one of the first Governors of the International Monetary Fund.[4]

They eventually married and decided to settle permanently in Washington, D.C. in 1960. During their time in Washington, the couple built an important art collection. This included over 200 paintings by František Kupka,[6][7] as well as 240 productions by Jiří Kolář and 17 sculptures by Otto Gutfreund.[6] The couple even sold their home for $950,000 in order to purchase two of Kupka's oil paintings,[8] one of which was Localization of Graphic Motifs II. She later donated this work to the National Gallery of Art in 1984. Mládková also arranged a Kupka retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1975.[6]

Return to the Czech Republic

Sova's Mills in Prague
Meda Mládková (middle), Martin Bursík and Kateřina Jacques at Kampa (2009)

After the death of her husband in 1989, Mládková returned to the Czech Republic.[8] She gave her art collection to the city of Prague,[7] and joined the Civic Forum. Later, she founded the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation and decided to reconstruct the historical premises of Sova's Mills and use it as a location for the Museum Kampa. Museum Kampa became home to her and her husband's art collection, which she donated to the City of Prague.[2][9] The Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation has in its care a collection of Central European Modern art, and artworks by František Kupka and Otto Gutfreund. The price of the collection is today virtually inestimable. It consists of 215 studies, drawings and paintings, and ranks alongside the world's most comprehensive collections of its kind.[6][10]

Mládková was bestowed a state decoration by Václav Havel in 1999.[8] Thirteen years later, she was appointed a commander of the Ordre national du Mérite, in recognition of her efforts as an art collector and philanthropist.[7][8] She died on 3 May 2022, at the age of 102.[11]


  1. ^ s.r.o, World Media Partners. "Meda Mládková – 100th Birthday". Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b Šimek, Jiří (2004). "Významné osobnosti v historii Zákup". Povídání o Zákupech (2 ed.). Zákupy: Město Zákupy. p. 59. ISBN 80-239-4495-9.
  3. ^ "Meda Mládková: From Kupka to Kampa | Téma". 13 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Meda Mládek • Museum Kampa". Museum Kampa. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Art collector and patron Meda Mládková dies aged 102". Radio Prague. 3 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Greenberger, Alex (3 May 2022). "Meda Mládková, Leading Czech Collector Whose Passion for Art Ran Deep, Dies at 102". ARTnews. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "Czech art collector Meda Mladkova dies at 102". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 3 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d Janicek, Karel (3 May 2022). "Czech arts collector, patron Meda Mladkova dies at 102". Associated Press. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  9. ^ "About Jan and Meda Mládek | Museum Kampa – moderní umění v centru Prahy". Museum Kampa. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ "The Jan and Meda Mládek Collection | Museum Kampa – moderní umění v centru Prahy". Museum Kampa. Archived from the original on 23 July 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Ve věku 102 let zemřela historička umění Meda Mládková | České". (in Czech). Retrieved 3 May 2022.

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