Sculptor with a lathe

Sculptor with a lathe

Jozef Lenhart

Jozef Franko was trained to become a ceramicist in The Slovak Folk Majolic Modra. Over the time, he resigned to the career in the production of traditional Modra majolica products and started to make own-style products. He focused on making sculptures and started his art career in the Slovak ceramic art as an artist with a unique style by an exhibition in 1973. It was the same time when he began collaboration with the ÚĽUV.

His sculptures have author-specific distinctive features and it seems that they have been made on a potter’s wheel. Well, the author certainly is a former jar maker. In 1975, soon after the exhibition, his sculpture of Jánošík was placed on a Czechoslovak postage stamp. He made unique Pietà and Madonna artworks. His interpretations of Pietà make his work special and not following the traditional approach. „I believe Pietà is the legacy of the European tradition. Sacral art is rooted in our genes and it is not good to believe that it is an ideology-related inspiration. For me, a sacral artwork is an object speaking about history and culture. It is the inspiration which inspired the creation of the noblest art form which I have used from the beginning. Pietà and Madonna are my permanent topics of inspiration. I understand them as the ultimate sections of a human life. Madonna is the beginning of life and Pietà is the end of it.“ Franko has displayed his best sculptures not intended for sale in a Renaissance chapel of an old town hall in his native town of Pezinok.

In addition from being a sculptures maker, J. Franko is an excellent majolica painter. However, he has concentrated on designing tile stoves and improving the heating system for the last 20 years. He promoted tile stove making from a hobby to a craft which earns him living. However, he does not build tile stoves. He makes clay forms and prepares moulds.