Zhoř-Jihlava, 1914-Prague, 1996
Son of Charles Vitek, wood carver and Zhoř’s mayor for many years. After primary school, his father taught him carving. In Prague, he attended the Technical School and studied Arts and Crafts for six years under professor Drahoňovský Horejc, among others. In 1939 he took his degree from the Arts Academy in Prague and collaborated with some architects, especially with Jaroslav Cermak, on the decoration of the churches that were being built around that time. This work allowed him to get married and settled, even during the war, until 1948. After this date, no more churches were built, and all the employment contracts were granted by a commission of the Artists’ Association to which they had to belong. The fact of being an independent artist and not a member of the Party made life difficult for him. Josef Vitek survived as an artist sculptor until 1963. Tired of it, he looked for a permanent job and found it in the Academy of Stage Arts, in the Puppet Theatre Department, where he taught and directed the workshops up to his retirement. There he could convey his experience to Czech and foreign students.
In 1984, Josef Vitek and his disciple Eliane Attinger built the characters of a new black theatre performance for Herta Frankel. In Big Artists Of Yesterday And Today you can find The Pink Panther, Placido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Josephine Baker, Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly.