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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art



PRAHA V
Fiala


1938: After the Munich agreement, in which Czechoslovakia was forced to surrender the Sudetenland to Germany, the German Wehrmacht occupated the border regions of Czechoslovakia on 1st of October. Sudetenland became part of the German Reich.
"Auch ich wurde einmal vor die Aufgabe gestellt, Gruppen von 35 Personen auf zwei Marken zu bringen, ... . Die Arbeit wurde insofern erschwert, weil die meisten Personen noch lebten. Einen Kopf kleiner als eine Stecknadel und dann noch Porträtähnlichkeit zu erreichen, das war eine brisante Aufgabe."
(I also once had the task to engrave a group of 35 persons on two postage stamps, ... The work was more difficult in so far as most of the persons have still lived. A head smaller than a pin and then similarity as a portrait - this was a very difficult task.)

Karl Seizinger
(about the engraving of the depicted stamp)


Swearing in of legioneers in Kiev
engraved by Karl Seizinger
according to a design by Václav Fiala
date of issue: August 15, 1934, MiNr. 322


Although Seizinger's work for the Czechoslovak postal authorities received high acknowledgement at home and abroad, there nevertheless was a discussion, if his only reproducing way of creating stamps would be of high artistic standards. Always Seizinger was directly or indirectly reproached with the fact that he would avoid the cooperation with renowned artists. And so he tried to come in contact again with his former fellow pupil from Švabinský's graphic school and meanwhile renowned painter and graphic artist Václav Fiala. First in 1934, he cooperated with him on the creating of a stamp - as the designer of the frame of his Smetana stamp. And so Seizinger started not only to reproduce passively pictures of old masters or photographs on stamps. If this was caused by the increasing competition with Heinz or if the public critics on his artistic abilities made him to do this, can not be cleared.

Václav Fiala (1896-1980) also was Seizinger's personal friend and both of the families had close relations with each other, which lasted for many years. In order to visit Fiala and his wife, Seizinger even risked to return to Prague in 1944, which he had left 6 years ago. Fiala designed the for essays for a series commemorating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the so-called "Czechoslovak Legion" (one example from this series see above). By this cooperation a long lasting tradition has been started to create Czech and Slovak stamps mostly by team work of a designing artist, who has an idea, and an engraver, who transfers the idea on stamp by the possibilities of his craft. This tradition is being continued till today. Like Seizinger in the above quotation, also Fiala stresses in his memories the very ambitious task, particularly to achieve a nearly photographical exactness of the scenery. Because of their common time of study both Seizinger and Fiala knew each other well, also with regard to their art, and so the common work was very successful. There was particularly praised that despite of the small format of a stamp all depicted persons could clearly be identified by their names.

It is obvious that in the process of creating those stamps also Bohumil Heinz was included into considerations, but finally not taken as engraver, however. Fiala describes how the printing house gave the preference to the experienced Seizinger (translated from Czech): "They thought of two engravers who could be able to execute this demanding task, these were Seizinger and the young engraver Heinz. The printing house Unie finally preferred Seizinger, namely, because his way of engraving rather seemed to bring a successful result when printing. Heinz surprised by the refinement of his engraving technique; however, it seemed to be dangerous that he set the lines very close to each other and they feared in the printing house that the lines could flow together, experiences still were absent." It can be supposed that in this connection Seizinger used his close realtions to the printing house to promote the insecurity there. For later it was seen that also Heinz's finer lines didn't cause any problems with the print.

The other artists, who cooperated with Seizinger from the middle of the 30ies were Karel Vik (MiNr. 351-359, 384, 385, 401), Vladimír Silovský (MiNr. 400) and Jan Charles Vondrouš (MiNr. 375, 376, 398, 399). Certainly, Seizinger's independent designing was limited by the influence of his partners, but neverthless he maintained his improvising approach of working. This special way of working will be described more detailed later in this section.

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