11 ^K3£C^5L0VSJCrjE V MINI L 0 ST I Pft 1 TOM NO S T 1/21 erf more or less skillfully masked routine or else, at best, interesting variations of an ephemeral fashionable theme. Josef Flejsar invariably manages to create a harmony of great cultural values and a pronounced advertising success. This may be traced back to the fact that even as a student he refused to limit himself to a training which would have made him a narrow specialist in adver tising art. His teacher at Prague's Academy of Art and Crafts, the wellknown illustrator Prof. Antonin Strnadel, layed the foundation of Flejsar's artisticcareer by demonstrating to him the universal artistic importance of an intimate knowledge of popular art. The oeuvre of both teacher and student has, however, never stooped to a mere imitation of popular art. Thus Flejsar managed to avoid all routine and to develop an entirely personal style. For him masterly drawing and a perfect pictorial technique have never been ends in themselves but only means of expression, just like lettering, too. For a large part of his work is actually written and that with that high degree of culture which also characterized the medieval copyists and which is even more typical of the Chinese lettering-artists. It may appear strange if in the context of a discussion of Czechoslovakian popular art I adduce the seemingly far-fetched example of ancient Chinese culture. And yet it seems to me that this is the very source of the essential problem of contemporary commercial art: how can national individuality be meaning fully harmonized with present-day demands for contemporary artistic expression. Josef Flejsar has contributed his share towards the solution of this topical problem: in his quest for realistic expression he has not committed the error of seeing in realism nothing but a superficial copy of outward reality. He attempts to equal the achieve ment of Chinese painters who-to quote the draftsman and author A. Hoffmeister-« do not paint pictures of objects, but about them.» In his case, too, it is justified to say that he «writes» his posters, book-covers and exhibition eye-catchers. His designs have something in common with children's drawings: their simplicity, purity, truth and force of expression. Josef Flejsar est, sans contredit, parmi les artistes tchèques qui pratiquent le gra- phisme publicitaire et l'illustration de livres, l'un des plus originaux. C'est Ie cöté in- dividuel de son expression qui a été a I'origine de son succès. II sait éviter la routine dans les procédés et les idéés, car il est si facile de tomber dans un stéréotypé plus ou moins astucieusement camouflé,

Gebrauchsgraphik de | 1960 | | page 11