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Woodcut Artist’s Book by Josef Váchal’s Life Partner

Kozlíček [tuto píseň opatřila a ručně jako originál ve 13 ekzemplářích vytiskla A. Macková] [The little goat: a song illustrated and printed by hand in thirteen copies by A. Macková].

Vršovice (Prague): self-published, 1922. Small quarto (26 × 21 cm). Original pictorial wrappers on blue wove paper; [4], 18, [8] pp. Fifteen linocut prints; printed on thick laid paper. Title signed by Macková. Very good.

A striking sampling of Macková’s work, this children’s book was printed in only thirteen copies and contains fifteen linocut prints, the bulk of which accompany a quatrain each. The text may be based on a folk song, but appears to be authored by Macková herself in this form. The text has been letterpress-printed using a Gothic type that may have been devised by Josef Váchal. Unbound, as issued. One of only three artist’s books published by Macková, in addition to a multitude of exlibrises and various anthologies.

It was as a student in Josef Váchal’s workshop beginning in 1920 that Anna Macková (1887–1969) adopted the wood-engraving technique used for these works. She first met Váchal, a visionary Czech painter and graphic artist deeply influenced by esoterical and mystic thought, in 1918 upon the publication of her first collection of publisher marks. In his journals, Váchal expresses a sincere respect for her work, something he did for few artists. Yet Macková’s quiet, meditative takes on nature with idyllic, sometimes playful farm images run counter to Váchal’s favored themes of a demonic pan and spiritual turbulence.

Sáňka 956. In the Czech Republic, we can trace the copies at the National Archive and at the Moravian Gallery. As of April 2020, KVK, OCLC only show one copy outside the Czech Republic, at Princeton (Cotsen Library).

Book ID: 50696

Price: $4,000.00