Czechoslovakia in the 1960s: oppressive Communist rule. Artists struggling to make ends meet. Insert college student Lee Freeman who became their lifeline to receptive audiences in the West. Thus began Freeman’s life-long passion collecting contemporary Czech art.
More than 40 works from Freeman’s world-renowned collection are featured in the exhibit, “Artists Caught Behind the Iron Curtain: The Freeman Collection,” at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, which opens on Saturday, Jan 19.
Freeman, art-enthusiast and Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for the State of Montana, sold many paintings in the United States and to private collectors, prestigious galleries and museums around the world. He then sent the profits to the artists and supplied them with paints and other banned materials.