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    The Odeon publishing house, originally SNKLHU (Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění; State-Owned Publisher of Fiction, Sheet Mu… Read More
    The Odeon publishing house, originally SNKLHU (Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění; State-Owned Publisher of Fiction, Sheet Music and Art Books) was one of the most important publishers of the post-war period (1953–1995). First it focused on Czech and world literary classics; later it specialized in contemporary world fiction, art books and, to a lesser extent, literary science and essays or – before 1960 – sheet music and musicology. The present book features selected book cover design of this outstanding Czech publisher’s series appearing in the period of 1953–1995. The accent is on the most popular part of the book production – fiction and poetry edited by the Belles-Lettres Department. The Department produced some 5200 books, whose print run often reached hundreds of thousands. Book design offered an ideal opportunity for the best Czech graphic designers, typographers, illustrators and other highly acclaimed artists (Jiří Balcar, Václav Bláha, Libor Fára, Milan Grygar, Oldřich Hlavsa, František Muzika, Jiří Rathouský, Zbyněk Sekal, Zdeněk Seydl, Jan Solpera, Zdeněk Ziegler and others) who could use their artistic abilities in this field with confidence. A book is not a mere carrier of its content, it is an object that has its own value. Similarly, a book cover is not a poster for a next week’s event; on the contrary, it should look up-to-date for decades to come. During the book production boom lasting from 1950s till the 1980s high-quality literature went mostly hand in hand with high-quality typography, and books generally included other assets like illustration or collage. Through seemingly ordinary objects, namely bound blocks of sheets designed for reading, in bookstores and households collections of books were created. These collections are highly praised at art exhibitions and in monographs of outstanding Czech artists who naturally shaped history of Czech graphic design and typography through applied graphic arts. Common readers’ bookshelves contained mostly popular fiction series that were household staples. Those published by the biggest publishers (Československý spisovatel, Mladá fronta, Odeon and others) that took particular care of their book production became so wide-spread (not only because of high print runs) that one finds them even today. Those publishers’ deliberate effort to produce books of beautiful content and beautiful form is a fascinating phenomenon hard to achieve in our time when a particular book’s final look is often determined not by an art editor but by a marketing department. The present book deals with a publishing house that always kept up its good job even when it published over a hundred books a year… Read Less
Published by UMPRUM / Prague 2016.

Special thanks to:
UMPRUM, Karel Haloun, Radek Sidun, Tomáš Brousil, Pavla Pauknerová, 
Archiv výtvarného umění, Jiří Hůla, Jan Kuntoš, Jindřich Janíček, Matěj Klíma, 
Josef Čermák, Jan Solpera, Jan Čumlivski, Rostislav Vaněk, Jana Křížová, Michal Přibáň, 
Jindřich Jůzl, Barbora Špičáková, Sylva Macková