Brno: Karel Novotny and Uh. Hradisti, 1925. First edition. SIGNED. One bookplate is missing. Fourteen tipped-in bookplates mounted on green paper, housed in a folding printed paper portfolio, with folded sheet comprising title page, introduction, and colophon laid in. List of plates pasted to verso of rear portfolio cover (as issued). Three-panel portfolio has split along most of its length at both folds-- at one time, tape was applied to the verso folds, leaving dark marks. Tape still partially affixed to one of the folds. Toning and short tears to portfolio, with narrow dampstain along "spine". Small ownership stamp in Czech on verso of portfolio cover. The bookplates themselves, printed on a variety of papers, are crisp and clean. The upper left-hand corners of the mounting papers are lightly creased. Portfolio measures 16.5 cm x 21 cm closed; mounting papers measure 15 cm x 20.5 cm; bookplate measurements vary. Item #50406
Signed by Bochorakova-Dittrichova in pencil on title page of introductory leaflet. Number 66 of an edition of 150.
A wonderful collection of images celebrating reading, study, and well-appointed libraries. Bochorakova-Dittrichova primarily worked in woodcut, so the engravings are a rare and interesting component of this early work.
Helena Bochorakova-Dittrichova (1894-1980) was the first female wordless novelist and the only woman to work in this medium during its heyday. She was born in the Moravian region of what is now the Czech Republic and spent most of her life in Brno, the Moravian capital. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and in 1923 received a government scholarship to study printmaking in Paris. Bochorakova-Dittrichova's unpublished wordless novel Malí ka Na Cestách [The Artist on Her Journey] recounts this period in her life. In Paris, she first encountered the wordless novels of Flemish artist Frans Masereel, the originator of the form, and was inspired to create her own. Over the course of her long career, Bochorakova-Dittrichova published several wordless novels, along with travelogues and historical works. She also worked as a printmaker and illustrator, and was highly regarded in her native land, though largely unknown elsewhere. This changed in 2014, when the National Museum of Women in the Arts held an exhibition of her work entitled "The First Woman Graphic Novelist: Helena Bochorakova-Dittrichova," and this important artist finally began to gain global recognition. Her work, however, is still not widely available.