For Czech Independence, the Czech National Association


This World War I poster is one of a series by the Czech artist Vojtech Preissig (1873–1944) produced to promote the creation of an independent Czechoslovak state after the war. The poster shows doubled-headed eagles nailed to crosses. The eagles are a symbol of the Austrian monarchy, and bear medallions around their necks labeled “FJI,” an abbreviation that stands for the emperor, Franz Joseph I. On the crosses are signs airing Czech grievances against the Austrian monarchy, including:  “Za třistaletý útisk” (For 300 years of oppression), and “Z Kramáře, Rašína, Červinku...” (For Kramář, Rašín, Červinka... [Czech national politicians sentenced to death for high treason]). Preissig was born in the Czech-speaking part of Austria-Hungary. From 1892 to 1896 he studied in Prague at the School of Applied Industrial Art. He then studied and worked in Paris and Prague before moving to the United States in 1910, where he gained a reputation as an innovator in the fields of printmaking, book design, typography, and illustration. From 1912 to 1916 he taught at both the Art Students’ League and at Columbia University in New York. From 1916 to 1926 he directed the School of Printing and Graphic Arts at the Wentworth Institute in Boston. This poster was one in a series designed and printed at the Wentworth Institute.

Last updated: February 10, 2014