over the next five days, i will share five different books designed by ladislav sutnar. think ‘orange.’ i love orange. i don’t wear a lot of it but i do have an orange lacoste shirt, an orange hermès hat and one pair of neon orange nike air rifts. oddly, that’s it. however, i do own a great number of orange items. many are in the form of books designed by sutnar. take off the dust jacket and you find a wonderful world of subtlety, drama, creativity and originality. remember, these books were designed in the 1930s.
this collection began with the discovery of a box labeled ‘sutnar’ at ‘the art of the book’ room at the sterling library at yale. the sterling library is vast. heaven, actually, but aren’t all libraries? ‘the art of the book’ houses many amazing things, and i sometimes think i was the first person in years to look through this archival box. there was no order, no organization, no cataloging and no shortage of wonderful things to examine. i would bet that, 20 years later, no one else has looked at that box. where do i find these books? living in the states makes it difficult. there are a few dealers who sell the czech avant garde, and i acquired most of mine from one particular dealer who now specializes in cookbooks. recently there was an ebay auction with many wonderful examples of sutnar designs and i didn’t win a single book, much to my disappointment. so many i had never seen. hopefully, these will be fresh to you.