Kounic, Vaclav (1848 - 1913)

Czech nobleman, politician and patron of the arts, an important figure in Czech patriotic circles during the latter half of the 19th century. He studied law at university in Vienna and Prague and in 1883 was elected a deputy of the State Assembly. In 1877 he married the actress Josefina Cermakova, thus becoming Antonin Dvorak’s brother-in-law. In 1873 he took possession of the castle and surrounding estate at Vysoka near Pribram, where Dvorak and his wife were invited by the Kounic family for the first time in 1877. In 1884 Dvorak purchased a plot of land from Kounic with an old farm building which he had reconstructed into a summer residence. At Vysoka Dvorak was in close contact with Vaclav Kounic and he was a frequent guest up at the castle. During his visit to Vienna in 1889 Dvorak stayed at Kounic’s palace there, and he probably also visited the family’s castles in Slavkov near Brno and in Uherske Hradiste.