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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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5 Visually Stunning Czech Books

Published on June 05th, 2014 in Shopping

 

I am always on the lookout for fabulous books to add to my ever-growing collection of Czech titles. Artful, playful and, of course, colorful are what I open my wallet for! These 5 books are all of those things and more:

 

Retro ČS by Michal Petrov

Jota 2013
Buy it at ARTĚL

 

 

Petrov, a former journalist and foreign correspondent, reconstructs, via his own life experiences and the advertising of the period, the shelves of the socialist supermarket in the four decades before 1989. While the author’s musings are in Czech, the amazing collection of period adverts and photos make this book deserving of a home in any vintage design enthusiast’s library.

 

 

 

 

New York: A Mod Portrait of the City by Vladimír Fuka and Zdeněk Mahler

Rizzoli 2014
Buy it at Amazon

 

 

Do you like the television show Mad Men? Then you will fall in love with this pictorial guide book to eternally stylish Manhattan written by author Zdeněk Mahler and illustrated by Vladimír Fuka in...1964! Unfortunately, the Czech secret police scrapped that entire first print run, but a lone copy was discovered by Mahler’s grandson and reprinted in Czech in 2008 and in English earlier this year. A true treasure.

 

 

 

12 Hours with Oscar (12 Hodin s Oskarem) by Eva Maceková

Baobob 2012
Buy it at Baobob bookstore

 

 

 

This day in the life of 5-year-old Oskar and his cat will delight even dog lovers like me. In retro-graphic style the author, an art school graduate, illustrates ordinary events—breakfast, shopping, going to school—with extraordinary vibrancy. There is almost no text giving this charming children’s picture book universal appeal.

 

 

 

Field Guide to the Czech Psyche by Jessica Serran

Divus 2013
Buy it at Page Five bookstore

 

 

OK, this one is a bit of a cheat as Serran is a Canadian artist with Slovak roots. But I’d be remiss not to include her fascinating compilation of conversations with nine different Czechs, among them Alena, a wife and mother and Tomáš the owner of a design firm. The compact, chunky book features text and photos of the subjects in their everyday surroundings and is accompanied by a sheaf of posters, reprints of Serran’s paintings of her subjects’ “psyche”.

 

 In Conversation with Alena mixed media ©2010 Jessica Serran

 

Look What You Find in the City (Hledej co najdeš ve městě) by Ladislav Svatoš

SNDK 1959 – Out of print

 

 

 

A leporelo is the Czech term for an accordion-folded book that is richly illustrated and has little text. I found a copy of this particular gem at one of my favorite rare book shops in Prague – it is quite possibly the book purchase I am most proud of as it is simply brilliant. Sadly it is out of print, though you can acquire a copy via on-line antiques dealers if you are determined and speak a little Czech. You will need no Czech, however, to enjoy Svatoš’s retro eye candy which combines black and white photographs of Prague street scenes with fun illustrations for a collage effect.

 

 

 

I bought my copy at Knihkupectví a Antikvariát Aurora at Spálená 53; while I can’t promise that you’ll find another one, I highly recommend this shop, especially if you like secondhand books, vinyl, and film posters.
 

Here is a link to one Antivariát that has the book for sale online:
http://www.antikbuddha.com/czech/article_show.php?article_id=38&category=90

 

 

 

 

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