1919. Irkutsk: self-published, 1919. Oblong octavo (23.2 × 25.6 cm). Original lithographed three-panel portfolio; eighteen leaves printed to rectos (lithographed?), measuring 22.5 × 24.7 cm. Signed and inscribed by the artist to front wrapper. Very light overall wear; a very good copy.
Scarce, complete portfolio of lithographed caricatures documenting the travails, and occasional humorous moments, of the Czechoslovak Legion soldiers during their Siberian anabasis. Little is known about the artist, who was a trained sculptor from Horní Kn žeklady, in Southern Bohemia. His drawings poke fun at Czech military leaders, the Soviet enemy, the allies organizing the evacuation, and the Czechoslovaks back home, and are often difficult to decipher, containing numerous "inside jokes." This copy is warmly inscribed by Švec to a "poru ík Pištálek" in memory of "our 'sunny' days in Irkutsk." After the treaty of Brest-Litovsk effectively closed the Eastern Front, the Czechoslovak Legion forces found themselves on the side of the imperiled Tsarist troops as they moved East to Vladivostok and to transport ships bound for home. At one time, the Czech Legion controlled the majority of the Trans-Siberian Railway and significantly aided the White Russian forces during combat. Their effort on behalf of the White army was seen as benefiting their goal of an independent Czech state as propagated by Masaryk, free from Austro-Hungarian rule. This portfolio is among an impressive range of works which were printed in transit, at the mobile printing shop of the Legion troops in their armored train, evidently somewhere between Irkutsk and points further east. As of August 2019, KVK, OCLC only show the sets at Columbia and Yale. Book ID: P6650