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Inspiring Artist of the Day - Vojtěch Preissig

Now I love a second hand book shop - you never know what you will find and sometimes it's a gem!

I'll always end up in the book shop when we visit Llangollen, it's huge, cavernous and full of wonderful, wonderful out of print, unavailable anywhere else books

...and this is where I bought a copy of 'Czech Modernism 1900-1945' published by The Museum of Fine Art, Houston.

I happily parted with £29.95 for this - it's still written inside the front cover - on seeing two drawings by Vojtěch Preissig, to be honest I bought it because of one in particular, what can I say it spoke to me!

It isn't huge, complicated or full of detail - it's a simple and enigmatic nugget

...and I've had to scan the illustration straight from the book as I can't find it on the internet!

Ornamental drawing c. 1903

As for the Syncopating Saxophones, below, which I just discovered courtesy of Google ...well, I think it's a sublime bit of design!

At the end of the online version of this book - which you can see if you click on the above image - I found a description of the cover and how it was designed and printed:

"The book was designed (after the composition had been completed) by Vojtech Preissig in an attempt to show the possibility of typographic salvation through design under ordinary printing trade conditions. The type is Linotype Old Style. The dashes at the top and bottom of each page are Linotype dashes. The paper is Warren’s Old Style. The composition was done by the Standard Typesetting Company of Chicago."

His only book typeface, Preissig Antikva, was cast in 1925 at the Czech State Printing Office foundry in Prague.

It was a milestone in Czech type design.


During World War 1, Preissig had designed posters for the Czechoslovak Recruiting Office in New York. On returning to his homeland in 1930 he worked for one of the most important magazines of the resistance, called V boj, that had been outlawed by German authorities. He died on the 11th of June, 1944 in Dachau.

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