and  Painter




Life &

RAF ww2
Hero Pilot








Korda's paintings can be either RENTED or SOLD


Vaclav KORDA was born in Podebrady, a spa resort town east of Prague in the Czech Republic.  When he was born in 1907, there was no Czech Republic, no Czechoslovakia – the country was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by the imperial family of the Habsburgs.  His was a poor family of a simple town police officer and later in his life Korda enjoyed conveying many humorous stories of his youth in Podebrady where he went to school and participated in countless pranks and mischiefs.  The school was not to be taken seriously and young Vaclav gladly took every opportunity to play hookie to the dismay of his law obiding parents.  His detours from school led him through the fertile countryside surrounding the river Elbe.  We can see it in the luscious sun-lit landscapes he painted much later in his life as he was far away dreaming of his homeland.
Among his schoolmates, Vaclav was recognized for his jovial nature, pranks – and brilliant natural drawing skills.  Exchanging his production of drawing assignments with his friends for the solution of math problems. 




When the serious side of life called upon him to select his vocation, it did not take much for him to yield to his romantic yearning to fly like a bird – already as a teenager he joined the first ever flying classes, organized by the military, of course.  To fly the first airplanes in those times was indeed a courageous and rare thing to do.  Not long after the First World War, the prangster Korda became one of the first pilots in the new Czechoslovakia – a very responsible vocation indeed that led him into the ranks of the first commercial airline pilots.  The world has opened to him and he got to know it also from the skies above. 

“That’s where I spent most of my life”, he quipped when complimented about his enchanting fabulous painting of the skies.


The peaceful scenery in Europe did not last long – the tolls of looming war sounded when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939.  Like some others, and particularly the worldly pilots, Korda could not stomach the humiliation of his homeland and chose to fight the Nazi invaders.  Parting with his family, his beloved wife and a child son, he dramatically left the country and after trekking through Poland and France, the latter collapsing under the German advance, found himself in England as a pilot of the Royal Air Force.  A whole new chapter of his life when he saw many of his comrades perish around him during the aerial Battle of Britain and the long war years.

He wrote a book of his war flying experiences that, no wonder, marked him deeply.  He survived it all, returning back home as a decorated war hero. 
    “The bullet was not cast for me -“
This was the year 1945.




The peace, however, did not last long for him.  The shadow of communism fell over his homeland and only short two years after his return home, in 1947 he had to go away again.  It is indeed mind-boggling to imagine that those who risked their lives for the freedom of their homeland, and particularly the “Western pilots”, became persecuted and imprisoned there.  Korda did not hesitate like many - another dramatic departure –

“I will go to check his papers” – uttered the Czech Airlines Vice-President Operations Korda at the Prague airport when an American Pan-Am Constellation airliner was about to take off:
“OK, Joe, let’s close the doors and roll it - ”. 
Pilot to pilot. 

High into his skies, this time, Korda, only in his short sleeves, was leaving for a long, long time …




Fortunately, his American-born Czech wife was already waiting for him beyond the ocean.  Their new beginnings in the USA were not easy.  Eventually, however, Korda came close to his flying profession again when landing a job with a major airport-services company and became its Vice-President.  Close to his airport of J.F. Kennedy in New York, life on Long Island, NY, returned Vaclav Korda to his original passion – painting.  Glorious.  It held him through the passing away of his wife, it saw him through bad and good in his life.


The state of his mind, his moods, fortunes and sorrows are reflected in the themes, styles and and colors of his paintings.  He even re-married late in his life, an old friend from Podebrady appeared on the horizon of the aging but vigorous and wise man.  Happy years on Long Island – and a happy return to visit his beloved Czecho-land when it became free again in 1989. 

Vaclav Korda died quietly a happy man in 1996.
The Pilot and Painter.
The dreams, the sun, the skies, the happiness, the sorrows of an entire life - and what a life ! – all reflected for us in his paintings.


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