Personalities of Czech Graphic Design
Jaroslav Šváb

(born May 24, 1906, Hodonín – May 16, 1999, Prague)

18. 6. – 31. 7. 2002
Moravská galerie v Brně, Pražákův palác, Husova 18


The exhibition will display works of the significant Czech painter, graphic artist and typographer, designer of cultural posters, book designs, publishing house logotypes, postage stamps and bookplates, marionetteer and publicist.
Since 1910 he lived in the town of Tábor; during his college studies, his talent was noticed by Jaroslav Vodrážka and Karel Štika. He made his early woodcuts at Petr Frank’s printing house in Tábor. In 1925–1931, he studied at Prague Academy of Decorative Arts: book design, binding and typeface with Prof. Jaroslav Benda, and graphic design and drawing with Prof. František Kysela. He worked with Method Kaláb’s Industrial Printing House, with the Typographic College, and with the Musical Foundation of ‘Umělecká Beseda’. In the period between the Wars he worked with important Czech publishers, such as ‘Družstevní práce’, Václav Petr, Kvasnička and Hampl Publishers, František Borový, Laichter, and the editor of ‘Typografia’ magazine. In 1938 he took up from Prof. Hugo Steiner-Prag the graphic school Officina Pragensis, which trained many prominent graduates (L. Fára, A. Šimotová, V. Bláha sr., O. Karlíková, etc.) and directed it until 1948.
In 1950–1956 he made marionettes and stage sets for children. From the late 1950s till the late 1980s he worked on edition series design with the publishing houses ‘Melantrich’, ‘Státní pedagogické nakladatelství’, ‘Odeon’, ‘Tatran’ and ‘Obzor’; at the same time he created bibliophilies and illustrations. A place of importance in his work has been devoted to poster design, relating to theatre, postage stamp exhibitions and, since the 1960s, also to the National Gallery in Prague, for which he produced a logotype, catalogue designs and numerous exhibition posters. Jaroslav Šváb was a member of the Hollar Association (since 1942) and the group ‘Umělecká Beseda’ Review (since 1958). He was awarded numerous prizes in the national competition of the Excellent Book of the Year, at the IBA Leipzig exhibitions of the Word’s Most Beautiful Books, prizes for postage stamp design and bookplates, publishers’ awards and the Gold Medal of the Universal Exhibition in Paris 1937. The exhibition at the Moravian Gallery – Pražák Palace will present a selection of Šváb’s outstanding graphic design works, dating from 1928–1990.