The book belongs to me! History of Czech ex libris since 1945 - Národní muzeum


Exhibitions (25.3.2018-9.9.2018)

The book belongs to me! History of Czech ex libris since 1945

Join us in the world of small-scale art prints!

Location: National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill, U Památníku 1900, Praha 3

The term "ex libris" comes from Latin, meaning "from the books of". An ex libris, or bookplate, is a small decorative print pasted directly in a book in order to indicate its ownership, whether private or that of a library.
Since the emergence of the first printed bookplates in the 15th century until the present, ex libris have undergone changes connected with the development of graphic techniques and social development. First, heraldic bookplates were created for the needs of the nobility and the Church. In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, their shape, and most importantly their purpose, changed. Ex libris began to express the personal attitudes and inclinations of their owner and became collectibles.
At the beginning, the exhibition in the National Memorial on the Vítkov hill presents historical ex libris that come from the libraries of the nobility, for example those of Peter Vok of Rosenberg and Kryštof Václav Nostitz. There are examples of bookplates originating in the period from the 16th to the 19th centuries, up to the new graphic bookplate concept of Josef Mánes from 1868, which is seen as the first modern Czech ex libris.
The main part of the exhibition presents bookplates from the early 20th century up to 1945. In total, there are 365 modern prints on show by 88 artists, from Mikoláš Aleš to Cyril Bouda.
All known original graphic techniques and methods of reproduction appear in ex libris. Individual techniques, such as wood engraving, etching and lithography, will be represented by printing blocks, tools, historical presses and photographic projections from printing workshops.
Wooden press from the late 19th and early 20th century. This press was used by graphic artists (1873–1944), Jaroslav Vodrážka (1894–1984) and Zdeněk Mézl (1934–2016)
The final part of the exhibition is dedicated to the emergence and development of ex libris collecting in this country. It will introduce the publishing and documenting activities of the Association of Collectors and Friends of ex libris, which is celebrating the hundredth anniversary of its foundation.
The exhibition is provided with an interesting accompanying programme. In the workshop corner, those interested will be able to design their own ex libris using the instructions provided. Several specialized workshops will offer the chance to try printing on historical presses.
Join us in the world of small-scale art prints, whose distinctive charm does not cease to attract the attention of collectors and art lovers! 

Ex libris by Vladislav Röhling for J. Čejka, etching, 1918
Ex libris by Minka Podhajská for Josef Hladký, colour woodcut, 1917
Ex libris by Anna Macková for Máňa Jančáková, colour woodcut, 1936
Ex libris by Josef Solar for the Society of Collectors and Friends of Ex libris, zincograph, 1922
Ex libris by Vítězslav Fleissig for M. Jančáková, colour linocut, 1936
Set of styluses
Woodcut and linocut blocks
View into the exhibition
View into the exhibition


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