In 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, Brno City Museum’s Department of History of Architecture organized a representative exhibition of the photographic work of Rudolf Sandalo titled Vize modernosti / Visions of Modernity. Rudolf Sandalo (1899–1980). The exhibition was the first time that the public could see many of Sandalo’s original photographic works, many of them from the museum’s collections and previously printed in publications on Czechoslovak and international modern architecture. Sandalo’s photographs are valued not only because they document Czechoslovakia’s famous interwar architecture, but also because they are excellent examples of architectural photography.

The impetus behind the exhibition and subsequent publication of this book were the long-term research and acquisition activities of one of the project’s co-authors, Jindřich Chatrný, who has spent many years studying avant-garde architecture. These activities include the task of identifying various buildings’ architects, which in many cases were documented by Rudolf Sandalo. After many years of research, which has been praised by professionals and the general public alike, Chatrný and his project collaborator Dagmar Černoušková, who spent many years at the Villa Tugendhat Study and Documentation Centre, managed to uncover a previously unknown story – the story of a photographer whose photographs of modern architecture in interwar Czechoslovakia earned him international renown, but about whose life we knew nothing at all. Sandalo’s photographs of Villa Tugendhat, taken shortly after the building’s completion in 1931, contributed fundamentally to the rapid international fame of this architectural icon. No book on this building has done without his photographs, and no book in the future will, either.

This monograph on the life and work of Rudolf Sandalo is an excellent contribution to the art historical literature on the subjects of Czechoslovak modern photography, architecture, and design. By exploring multiple areas of culture and history and thanks to its unusually in-depth exploration of history, it also offers a captivating look at the historical twists and turns of the complicated twentieth century.

The photographs of Rudolf Sandalo, whose excellent style and technical perfection rank them among the best visual records of Czechoslovak interwar architecture and which are one of the largest sets of photographs in the collections of Brno City Museum, are an indelible part of the history of modern art. In this regard, we must also honor the memory of the founder of the museum’s architecture collection, Iloš Crhonek, for without his efforts Sandalo’s photographs would not have been preserved for future generations.

Lucie Valdhansová


Chatrný, Jindřich; Černoušková, Dagmar (eds.). Vize modernosti / Visions of Modernity / Rudolf Sandalo 1899–1980, Brno 2019


The book may be purchased at the bookshops of Brno City Museum at Špilberk Castle and Villa Tugendhat, or it can be ordered via email from


Price: 1205 CZK