Prelovsek AHAS 4angl

Plečnik's letters to the architect Rothmayer
In a recent search through Professor France Stelc's estate at the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, several letters have been found which were written by the architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) to his Prague student and assistant Otto Rothmayer (1892–1966). There are 94 letters and postcards in all, dating from Plečnik's most creative years. They mainly illuminate his activity in Bohemia, but they also provide information about contemporary buildings and events in his homeland, Slovenia. Rothmayer offered the items of this valuable correspondence to Professor Stelc (1886–1972) shortly after Plečnik's death, fearing that they might be lost. Namely, it was a time when respect for Plečnik's work was at its lowest. Although these letters do not completely coincide with Rothmayer's surviving letters kept in the Architectural Museum of Ljubljana, they nevertheless embrace a long span of almost 25 years, from 1924 to 1948. In most cases they do not provide particularly new information which cannot be found in other sources; however, they illustrate more precisely the origin of some of Plečnik's actions in Prague and they convey interesting artistic judgements. During the time when this correspondence was conducted, Plečnik paid fewer visits to Prague than before, so it was in photographs that he first saw the works realized which he had designed for the Castle there; and he commented on them accordingly. Of particular interest are his mentions of the obelisk in the third courtyard of Prague Castle; they show that the architect hesitated for quite some time as to where he should place and how he should present the huge granite monolith. He even entertained the idea of a roughly-hewn stone block, in the condition in which it had been brought from the quarry. After President Tomaš G. Masaryk's death he wanted to make it into a monument to the founder of the Czechoslovakian state and add some pieces of symbolic sculpture as well as a memorial inscription. He also made several designs for decorations of this monolith even after World War II. There is a great deal of information in the letters on Plečnik's Ljubljana School of Architecture, various publications and handicraft items. In view of all the facts mentioned above, the letters to Rothmayer belong among the essential correspondence of Jože Plečnik which deserves to be published in a special documented and critical edition.