Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Tribute to Czeslaw Slania

After the last posting I think it is only fitting to mention Czeslaw Slania, his name deserves to on a par with Arnold Machin as one of the greatest artists of all time.

Born: October, 1921, in Silesa, Czeladz, Poland
Died: March 17, 2005. Aged 83 in Cracow, Poland.

As a youngster Slanias hobby was that of making sketches, he liked to make miniatures. Showing a talent from early days often amusing friends and family by sketching banknotes where he replaced the faces with that of girlfriends’ faces.

It was after the second world war at the age of 24 that Czeslaw Slania knuckled down and learned his true trade of fine engraving. Joining the Cracow School of Fine Arts.

After just six years (1951) he undertook his first commission to make his mark in the world of stamp design, engraving a stamp for the Polish Government Printing Works.
He moved to Sweden in 1959, and became a full time employee of The Swedish Postal Service as an engraver.

He was appointed as Royal Court Engraver in Sweden, Denmark and Monaco, and won numerous awards for both the beauty, speed and proliferation of his engravings.

A quote from the Royal Mail in 1999

"Czeslaw Slania has earned himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most prominent and prolific stamp engraver."

He is the inheritor of a centuries-old skill that has been practiced by some of the greatest artists, including Rubens, Rembrandt and Dürer. His dexterity and attention to detail is quite remarkable; he has the ability to engrave at an astonishing 10 lines per millimeter. Slania's versatility is evident in the broad range of subject matter he happily tackles, from royal portraits and flora and fauna to film stars."

Press release from Sweden Post:

"The Royal Court Engraver of Sweden Czeslaw Slania died the night of Thursday, March 17 after a long period of illness. Czeslaw Slania was 83 years old. Czeslaw Slania was born in Poland on October 22, 1921.
A great artist has passed away. His over one thousand stamps are admired and treasured around the world. We at Sweden Post are grateful to have been part of his work,’ says Britt-Inger Hahne, Managing Director Posten AB, Sweden Post Stamps."

Czeslaw Slania was buried in March, 2005 in the Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow, Poland.

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