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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art


1914: The First World War begins. Like Karl Seizinger, also Adolf Hitler - practically of the same age - fights in the west front in France and decides there to become a politician, as he wrote in his book "Mein Kampf".
The fact that I have become an engraver, I owe to the circumstance to have been born in the South Thuringian engravers town of Hildburghausen.

Kde domov můj ? (Where is my home?)
Line drawing and postage stamp to one of Seizinger's most beautiful engraving
commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Czech national anthem in 1934
according to a picture by Josef Mánes
Line drawing shown in the town museum of Hildburghausen
date of issue of the stamp: December 17, 1934 (MiNr. 331)
date of issue of the sheet: December 17, 1934 (MiNr. 331x)

Kde domov muj Kde domov muj

Although he never stayed in his home town for a longer time and he always wanted to see the world, Karl Seizinger had nevertheless a close relationship to his town of birth the whole life through, like the quotation above makes beautifully obvious. Again and again he were drawn back - even if sometimes of necessity - to where he started his big career.

Born as the son of the photographer Heinrich Seizinger, he didn't like the father's modern reproducing art, but he was fascinated by the traditional reproducing craft of engraving. In the town where this craft had a great tradition, where the world-famous Bibliographic Institute of Carl Joseph Meyer had its home, the young Karl Seizinger dreamed to become a famous engraver. First he attended one of many schools in Hildburghausen, known as a "school town". Here he also started to learn the engraver's profession at the Engraving Institute Metzeroth in 1903 after having finished the elementary school. Also after this education he stayed at Metzeroth still until 1909. And here he came in touch with the famous engravers of the institute, who particularly engraved book illustrations. In order to be able to have an impression of the places to be depicted in these books, they often travelled through the whole world. Their stories forced the wish in the young Seizinger to get to know the world by himself in the same way. So he wrote, how he - only 15 years old - met one of the far travelled Hildburghausen engravers, the 82-year-old Plato Ahrens (translated from German): "At that time he asked me to write down his experiences and adventures after dictation. When I heard his fascinating and detailed reports, the uncontrollable wish arose in me to become an engraver. In 1903, after finishing the elementary school, I decided to go to an apprenticeship in the Cartographic Institute Metzeroth. There I worked altogether six years and learned the ABC of the engraving. It lasted a long time to learn this art and still more, to be successful. However, at last I was able to fulfill my childhood dreams to engrave bank notes and postage stamps."

In 1909, he left his home town for the first time in order to work in the Cartographic Institute in Berlin and to start his great career. Certainly he sometimes wanted to settle down in Hildburghausen, but he never found the perspective for his abilities and for what he hoped for and dreamed of. For in the course of the time, Hildburghausen had completely lost its importance as location for publishing houses and graphical craft and industry. Only few small companies fought for their surviving. So he looked for success abroad, far from his home town and found it in Finland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Croatia. For the last time he returned to Hildburghausen, when he had to leave Yugoslavia after the war, and lived there at the Marienplatz 1 from 1946-1948. But he didn't stay long and in 1948 he left his native town forever trying to fulfill once again his dreams as artist in Haarlem (The Netherlands), already in the age of 59 years. In his application for the printing house "Joh. Enschedé en Zonen" he wrote on August 26, 1947 about the pressure to the far which could not be tamed (translated from German): "Since 1946 I live here as a freelancer. Because I have the wish in my mind to go again abroad, I didn't offer my services to anyone, neither to the Reichsdruckerei nor to the Postal Administration."

Nevertheless he remained closely connected to his native town and at the end of the 60ies - already in high age - he offered a valuable present to the town - banknotes and stamps engraved by him and engraved copper plates and essays. During the time of the GDR these things must not be shown and remained inaccessible to the public. Meanwhile, they are part of a small Seizinger exhibition in the Town Museum of Hildburghausen. A brochure worth to read, in which also Seizinger writes about his work, gives information about the artist's life and work.

Title Page * Introduction * Biography * Personality * Hildburghausen * Helsingfors *
Praha I * Praha II * Praha III * Praha IV * Praha V * Praha VI *
Belgrade * Zagreb * to be continued