Josef Sudek was the premier Czech photographer of his day, and remains one of the century's most fascinating and admired photographers. Sudek was born in 1896 in Kolín, just west of Prague, and as a young man was badly wounded in World War I. He began his photographic career in 1920at the dawn of the new republic of Czechoslovakiawith socially observant pictures in the tradition of the turn-of-the-century school of Pictorialism. He did not achieve his real creative breakthrough, however, until the 1940s, in the shadow of yet another Great War. Sudek's quiet, often hermetic work accomplishes that rare aesthetic missionhis images create a space of beauty that is at once subtly and overwhelmingly beautiful, a space of respite from the violence of the world outside the frame. This new volume documents Sudek's masterpieces of the 1940s and 1950s, including his ''studio pictures,'' landscapes, still lifes, and architectural photography, in beautiful reproductions, along with critical and biographical texts.