The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art

Starý pitník
(The old Rafter)
by Koloman Sokol
engraved by Josef Herčík

stamp issue of Czechoslovakia
issue date:
November 2, 1992
Koloman Sokol is to be considered as one of the greatest Slovak artists in this century. He is famous both as a painter and a graphic artist. Born on December 12, 1902 in Liptovský Svatý Mikuláš, he lives today in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (USA). His 95th birthday was the reason for issuing a commemorative stamp by the Slovak post office, on which his woodcut "Za cieľom" (To their aim) from the year 1931 is depicted (see the previous page). This picture clearly shows his typical powerful expressionistic style.

He was a pupil of Gustav Mallý and studied later at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague at Max Švabinský's institute. After several stayings abroad (among others in Paris) he returned to his native country and became member of the Hollar Association (SČUG Hollar) of Czech and Slovak graphic artists. From 1936 on he taught as a professor in Mexico City and New York. He returned to Bratislava in 1946 and was professor of arts at the Academy in Slovakia's capital.

Already in 1971 the post office of Czechoslovakia issued his work "Na konci města" (At the City Limits) on a stamp within the series "Česká a slovenská grafika" (Czech and Slovak Graphic Art) and to his 90th birthday in 1992 (see left) his picture "Starý pitník" (The old Rafter). He died, one month after his 100th birthday, on January 14, 2003 in Tuscon, Arizona (USA).

On the Internet, one of his best known pupils - Jozef Baláž - honored him by the article From here to eternity: Koloman Sokol. By going to this website, you will find more information about the artist. Because it seems that this page doesn't exist anymore, here some of Balaž's statements from this article about his teacher:

"Just a plain, modest man whose looks didn't promise anything special. But, unawares, he sorts of immediately filled in the whole school. It had certainly to do with his personality, all of us could feel it. ... He knew how to provoke his trainees into working yet harder, he got his way of praising and encouraging our effort, and it made him feel happy, during the corrections. ... He was our Professor Koloman Sokol, a someone we loved and held in esteem."