August 20, 2013

Josef Mach, Machuv vcelin/Mach's apiary


all pictures courtesy of Pavel Konečný


The small community of Kruslov, south of Prague, in the Bohemian area of the Czech Republic, houses a very special outsider art environment, with a colorful decorated exterior and an interior with a large variety of woodcarvings, all created by a self-taught artist.

Life and works

Josef Mach (1929-2009) decided to earn his living as a professional beekeeper, so in 1948 he builded kind of a barn, an apiary, some 25 meters long, where he installed some 65 beehives.


Mach has provided these beehives, like all other buildings on the premises with colorful decorations, mainly in primary colors, depicting in a folkish, but rather personal style facades of houses, barns, and other elements of Czechian social life and historical tradition.


The totality of these decorated beehives and other builded structures on the property has become a festival of colors, which evokes and pays tribute to places of interest and landmarks of the Czech Republic.


Mach was a gifted wood carver too.

Related as he was to the world of bees, he produced a large collection of woodcarved bees.

He supplied furniture in his house and tools in the workshop with woodcarved decorations, but most of his sculpted legacy includes a large collection of stand-alone works of woodcarving, such as wooden sculptures of saints, woodcarved shrines, various chairs and tables, frames of mirrors and photo displays, all located in the property's living area.


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The site is maintained

After Josef Mach died, probably there were no heirs who wanted to live in the house. In order to prevent that the interior and exterior collection of outsider art would fall into oblivion, an organisation of friends was formed which aims to preserve the site for the future. This association already has ensured the necessary repairs.

Documentation/more pictures
Pavel Konečný & Šimon Kadlčák, Atlas spontánního umění (Atlas of spontaneous art), Prague, 2016 (ISBN 978-80-906599-1-9). p. 24-33

first published august 2013, revised april 2017

Josef Mach
Machuv vcelin
Kruslov 24
38719 Cestice, Czech Republic
can be visited in summermonths, 10-18, except monday 

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