Brno: Blok výtvarných umělců země Moravskoslezské, 1947-1949. Quartos (28.6 × 20.7 cm). Original pictorial and photo-illustrated wrappers; 324, 352, and 364 pp. per volume (continuous pagination), and additional leaves of advertisement. The supplements, where applicable, are separately paginated, and between 16 and 24 pp. each, with additional illustrations and photographs. Richly illustrated, with many reproductions on coated stock. Very good or better throughout. Item #3893
A fine set, with all issues in the original pictorial wrappers, of the most significant arts journal of post-war Czechoslovakia (altogether thirty issues in twenty-three volumes, with a few double and triple issues). Edited and elegantly designed by the painter František Kaláb, the journal was a lavish production devoted to a broad range of visual and performing arts, both at home and abroad. Kaláb was assisted by the surrealist writer Ludvík Kundera, and various guest editors included the architect Bohuslav Fuchs, Bohdan Lacina, and Jaroslav Svrček, among others. The journal saw itself as honoring the heritage of the interwar avant-garde, with its equally interdisciplinary and internationalist outlook. Each number is devoted to a different subject, such as monumental sculpture, medieval art, applied and decorative arts, urban design, dance, music, film, typography, and others.
With contributions by such artists, critics, and poets as Max Bill, Robert Desnos, Roman Ingarden, Le Corbusier, Laszló Moholy-Nagy, Georges Sadoul, Karel Teige, Václav Nebeský, Jindřich Chalupecký, Jiří Kotalík, Antonín Sychra, Josef Hrabák, Jan Grossmann. Also contains original poetry by Ivan Blatný, František Halas, Jan Hanc, Josef Hiršal, Vladimír Holan, Josef Kainar, Jiří Kolář, Ludvík Kundera, František Listopad, Oldřich Mikulášek, Vítězslav Nezval, Jan Skácel, Oldřich Wenzl and Vilém Závada. The print run ranged between three and four thousand copies. Volumes two and three feature summaries in English, French, and Russian.
The final issues contain numerous anti-bourgeois polemics, as well as translations by Soviet art critics. Some of these were prepared by the young Milan Kundera. Despite these leftist sympathies, and indeed the editors’ approval of the February 1948 communist coup, the new government still decided, by decree, to close the journal in the summer of 1949.
References: Slovník české literatury po roce 1945 (Dictionary of Czech literature after 1945) (http://www.slovnikceskeliteratury.cz/showContent.jsp?docId=74).
Our set also includes some of the supplements, which are usually bound in the back of each issue, as separately issued pamphlets (vol. I, nos. 1-3, 6-10).