Schmidt and Svabinsky

If you think the link between Vaclav Hollar and Bedrich Housa, as recently discussed, was strong, think again. The strongest link between designer and engraver must undoubtedly be that between Max Svabinsky and Jindra Schmidt. Not only were they close colleagues, with Jindra translating Svabinsky's designs again and again into beautiful steel engravings, much to the joy of the Czechoslovakian collectors, but they were also close personal friends. In fact, when Schmidt engraved some of the posthumous Svabinsky issues for Czechoslovakia, he signed them Jindra Schmidt, using his actual surname.

Some time after the Second World War, in 1946, Jindra Schmidt decided to sign his stamp work 'Jindra S.', rather than using his full surname. He later wrote that it had been some casual remarks about his and other engravers' German surnames overheard at the Ministry, suggesting people might think there were still Germans in charge of Czechoslovakian stamp production, that had made him decide so. Even his good friend Svabinsky, who disapproved of this, could never persuade him to give it up. But as a mark of honour, Jindra used his surname on those issues that posthumuously honoured Svabinsky.

Anyway, I was very happy when I unexpectedly came across an engraving by Jindra of the Svabinsky self-portrait of 1898, on ebay. I placed a bid on it, and was lucky enought to win it. Then after a little silence came an email from the sender saying they were very sorry but they had mislaid the item and could no longer find it!

And to be honest, I was elated! Why? Well, In the meantime I had started to research the engraving and came upon another auction of which one lot was a booklet about Jindra being the engraver to Svabinsky. And the booklet came inclusive of that same engraving! And not only that, it came with a second engraving as well. So I was already regretting having won the ebay lot, when that email came in.

Needless to say, I immediately put in a bid for the booklet and won it, so now I'm the happy owner of two beautiful engravings by Jindra Schmidt, that second one being a self-portrait dating from 1943. Now all I have to do is learn Czech so I can actually read the booklet!



  1. What a stroke of good luck! Well done on that one. Lovely engravings, tooL


  2. Thanks Adrian
    I just got that Jindra Schmidt stamp and I was surprised to see the full name. Now I know why.

    1. Thank Florián, for he's the fountain of knowledge when it comes to the Czechoslovakian engravers!


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