Toyen (Marie Cerminova) / Nás Svet (Nuestro mundo). Praga: Druzsrtevni prace DP, 1934

Nás Svet (Our world). Prague: Druzsrtevni prace DP, 1934


Toyen (Marie Cerminova) (Prague, 1902-Paris, 1980)

An avant-garde illustrator, painter and drafter trained at the School of Decorative Arts in Prague, Toyen is considered a leading figure in Czech and French avant-garde circles of the 1920s. She took part in large exhibitions where she signed under the neutral pseudonym Toyen because of fear of gender rejection. Initially influenced by cubism, she moved to Paris in 1925, where with his husband Jindrich Strysky, also an artist, she created the artificialism. It is a unique artistic style that delves into innovative painting techniques to distance from abstraction. In the 1930s, they returned to Prague where they found the Czech Surrealist Group.

In 1934, she illustrated Nás Svet (Our world), a book dedicated to children’s audiences with a figurative aesthetic that seeks a modern language with easy interpretation. Toyen, in her educational drawings of plain inks and straight lines, reproduces uncommon topics in children’s books such as equality between women and men or new sources of energy. Inspired by socialist postulates, the main characters are real heroes, workers in a society under construction: a teacher or a deliveryman. This book was conceived as a collaborative work between artists. The design was made by Ladislav Sutnar.

Irene Bonilla