Prague: Tiskem a nakladem Noviny, 1944. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Octavo [24 cm] in grey cloth with woodcut title in black on front board. Light discoloration to cloth, else boards are crisp and unworn; interior is clean and bright. Fine. Item #51185
Signed by Bochorakova-Dittrichova on title page. Handnumbered 16 of an edition limited to thirty signed copies. Introduction by Czech woodcut artist Frantisek Kubista. The illustrations were printed directly onto the pages; impressions left by the woodcut blocks are visible on the verso of each leaf.
Kristus is a wordless novel of the life of Christ, from the Annunciation to the Resurrection.
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 Bochorakova-Dittrichova's unpublished wordless novel Malí ka Na Cestách [The Artist on Her Journey] recounts this period in her life.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.