František Kupka was born on September 23, 1871, in Opocno in southern Bohemia. During this period he painted historical and patriotic themes. In 1892, Kupka registered in the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, where he focused on symbolic and allegorical subjects. His participation with theosophy and Eastern philosophy dates from this period. By spring 1896 Kupka had settled in Paris; there he attended the Académie Julian temporarily and then analyzed with Jean-Pierre Laurens at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Kupka worked as an illustrator of books and posters and, during his early years in Paris, became famous for his satirical drawings for magazines and newspapers. He settled in Puteaux in 1906, a suburb of Paris, and that same year exhibited for the first time in the Salon d'Automne. Kupka was profoundly impressed with the first Futurist manifesto, published in 1909 in Le Figaro. Kupka's work became increasingly abstract around 1910--11, representing his theories of movement, colour, and the connection between painting and music. He attended meetings of the Puteaux group in 1911. In 1912 he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants at the Cubist area, although he didn't want to be identified with any movement.