František Kupka (September 23, 1871 - June 24, 1957) was a Czech painter and graphic artist. He was a pioneer and co-founder of the early phases of the abstract art movement and Orphic cubism (Orphism). Kupka's abstract works arose from a base of realism, but later evolved into pure abstract art.
František Kupka was born in Opočno, eastern Bohemia (now Czech Republic) in 1871. From 1889 to 1892, he studied at the Prague Art Academy. At this time, he painted historical and patriotic themes. Kupka enrolled at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna, where he concentrated on symbolic and allegorical subjects. He was influenced by the painter and social reformer Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913) and his naturistic life-style. Kupka exhibited at the Kunstverein, Vienna, in 1894. His involvement with theosophy and Eastern philosophy dates from this period. By spring 1894, Kupka had settled in Paris; there he attended the Académie Julian briefly and then studied with Jean-Pierre Laurens at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.