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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art


1936: In Czechoslovakia the tensions between the Germany speaking population - the so-called Sudetendeutsche - and the Czechoslovak state intensify. Hitler - during the Olympic Games on the climax of his success - fans the fire by Henlein's Sudetendeutsche Partei.

Miroslav Tyrš

Postage stamp by Karl Seizinger (left)
in comparison to an engraving
by Bohumil Heinz

according to the same photograph
Februar 1, 1933, MiNr. 318

A description of seizinger's activities for Czechoslovak stamps can not be complete without mentioning his colleague and rival Bohumil Heinz. In spite of his German surname, Heinz originated from a Czech influenced surrounding and so he became the national opponent of the German Seizinger in a time of national conflicts between Germans and Czechs. While Seizinger always stayed a reproducing artist his whole life through (and also never wanted to be something else), Heinz had got a basic education in graphic art by Eduard Karel, the "Father of the Czech School of Engraving". He always tried to be successful as a free graphic artist. It is a fact that they never cooperated with each other. Seizinger - aware of his monopolistic position - ignored his later rival. Nevertheless there were a temporary discussion, if both of them after all would perhaps have cooperated in creating of some stamps, because the similarity between some works of both of the engravers can not be overseen.

Until beginning of the 30ies Seizinger's position wasn't disputed for the postal authorities as well as for the printing house Unie. First in 1932 Seizinger got an order at the same time as Heinz to engrave a stamp based on the same photograph to the 100th birthday of Miroslav Tyrš, the founder of the Sokol organisation. Seizinger was very indifferent to the fact that also Heinz has got this order and he was right: Heinz's engraving - a little bit greater than Seizinger's work - was rejected. And so Seizinger's smaller engraving was issued on stamp on March 16, 1932 (MiNr. 314/315) together with another Tyrš portrait based on a painting of František Ženíšek (MiNr. 316/317). And when in beginning of 1933 another Tyrš stamp should be issued, Seizinger didn't avoid to use Heinz's engraving as a pattern to transfer Tyrš - now in a greater size - on the new stamp (MiNr. 318), what he himself later confessed, too. Both in engravings in contrast (see above) show the astonishing similarity of both of the potraits.

And once more both engravers got an order at the same time to the same topic, this was in 1934 for an issue planned to commerate the 50th anniversary of the death of the composer Bedřich Smetana. This time the results were very different: while Seizinger had chosen a classical portrait, Heinz decided himself for a solution which showed Smetana before the Prague National Theater in the background. Again Heinz's design was rejected, and because only a few hours were missing to the fixed date for printing, it was told that Seizinger engraved in a very short time - orientating himself on Heinz's model - his Smetana portrait which then was issued on stamp on March 28, 1934 (MiNr. 321). Once again the confrontation of both of the engravings show the similarity between Seizinger's solution (see left) and the portrait section from Heinz's stamp (see right). But if you compare both of the engravings in detail, you will see even on them the main differences between Seizinger's and Heinz's style. It clearly can be recognized the really thicker, "rustic" and conservative style of the lines in Seizinger's engraving compared to the thinner and more detailed execution of Heinz. This is well seen particularly in the forehead section and on the collar of the jacket. Even this clearly finer execution of Heinz obviously was the reason that the printing house Unie first rejected Heinz's engravings, because they were anxious, this could be a problem when printing and the colours could be run off. And so it lasted until the end of 1934, before one of Heinz's engravings were accepted - the portrait of Antonín Dvořák (MiNr. 329). His Smetana design finally was issued after his death in 1948 (MiNr. 578/579). You can see engraving and stamp in the section about Bohumil Heinz.

Finally Heinz and Seizinger engraved a third time nearly simultaneously the same motif for a stamp and here their confrontation reached a last climax. For the Sokol Winter Games the issue of a stamp was planned for Jnauary 1938. First Seizinger got the order to engrave a design by Cyril Bouda and proofs already have been realized. Maybe because of the proofs, maybe because of other reasons, also Bohumil Heinz was requested to engrave an alternative. And for the first time, Heinz's engraving was preferred against the same submission of Seizinger. It is sure that Seizinger was very hurt by this decision, also because the reason for rejecting his engraving was not plausible as later could be seen. It was argued that Seizinger's engraving wasn't appropriate for printing, what already the exisiting proofs disprove. Seizinger was very upset about the way they treated him, and probably this was one of the reasons why he surrendered his activities in Prague and left the country in the autumn of the same year.

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