Publication details

Nakladatelé, umělci a styly. Nakladatelské vazby jako předmět uměleckohistorického zájmu?

Title in English Publishers, Artists and Styles: Publisher Bindings as a Subject of Art-Historical Interest?


Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Opuscula historiae artium
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web Digitální knihovna FF MU
Field Art, architecture, cultural heritage
Keywords publisher binding; book culture; speaking binding; Leipzig binding; 19th century; historicism; Art Nouveau
Description Publishers bindings from the second half of the 19th century, where one binding was used for the entire print run of a book, were not, research reveals, merely industrial products, which they might seem at first glance. Publisher bindings represent important sources of information on intellectual, artistic, cultural, and social history. The clearly demarcated periods of development that can be observed in painting, sculpture and architecture can also be seen in creative and applied graphic arts, including bookmaking. This fact is reflected in the book production of large Prague publishing houses in the 19th and 20th centuries (e.g. J. Pospíšil, I. L. Kober, F. Topič, J. Otto, J. R. Vilímek). Historicist styles prevailed in book design (often used on luxury editions like Jan Otto’s Salon Library or Josef Richard Vilímek’s New Library), while Leipzig and speaking bindings represented secondary branches of design, which the subsequent rise of Art Nouveau tied in with. Although contemporary critics, as revealed in articles by Leopold Weigner and Ludvík Bradáč, did not look favourably on the phenomenon and regarded publisher bindings as a stage of decline in the book arts, the unquestionable significance of publisher bindings is demonstrated by the fact that some were collector’s items among contemporaries – for example, the Jules Verne’s books published by Josef Richard Vilímek, the luxurious editions published by Jan Otto – and by the fact that the foundations of the requirements that were to be placed on modern Czech books began to emerge amongst the books published by publishers. The author uses concrete examples to illustrate her observations. Offering a new perspective on the phenomenon of publisher bindings at the turn of the 20th century, she attempts to present publisher bindings as a distinct and vital research area (even though it transcends the boundaries between the frameworks of art history, arts and crafts, culture, and literature).
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