JOSEF VÁCHAL / Travels of a little elf
The collections of the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava include a rare bibliophile print with fifteen black-and-white wood engravings by Josef Váchal, entitled Travels of a little elf. In 1911, Josef Váchal printed this unique set of illustrations to accompany an original text by the poet, prose writer and dramatist Josef Šimánek, in the form of a self-published book issued in 100 copies. The Ostrava print, signed by the author, bears the number 3. The text and the engravings combine to create a unique symbiosis presenting a distinctive vision of the mystical world of nature, inhabited by the elf, gnomes and sylphs. The counter-pole to this is the world of humans, represented by a magus whose inner life is wracked by the terrible imaginings of his conscience, in which the main roles are played by werewolves and vampires. Váchal dedicated this unique book to the painter and graphic artist Otakar Štáfl.
Curator: Gabriela Pelikánová
Text: Gabriela Pelikánová
Translation: Christopher Hopkinson
Graphic design: Katarína Jamrišková
Promotion: Jana Malášek Šrubařová, Magdaléna Staňková