Emil Kotrba ( February 22, 1912 in Znojmo - February 21, 1983 in Prague ) graphic artist, painter and illustrator
He first studied in Brno at the School of Arts and Crafts, where his teacher was Petr Dillinger. Here he learned the basics of graphic techniques, which he later applied in his extensive work. In 1931 he left the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and continued his studies in the graphic special of T. F. Simon. From the first year he was awarded the first year prizes at the Academy and his mentor and friend became prof. Max Svabinsky. Even during his studies in Prague he did not forget to study horses and during his stays in Brno he attended lectures of zoology and anatomy externally. He completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1937. He became a professor of figural drawing at the Advertising School in Prague. From 1942 he devoted himself to free creation. He was a long-time member of the Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists with whom he exhibited. His inspirational source and favorite motif was a horse, he studied horses in stud farms in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. He created a world-unique painting collection, capturing and documenting Czech horse breeding, and the world of racing was also a popular theme. Another source of inspiration was figural work, especially with the theme of a woman, based on the principles of classical antiquity - the harmony of ideal form and spirit.
He devoted himself to graphic design, in which he realized more than 1000 free prints and around 1500 exlibris, New Year's wishes, baby announcements, riding day invitations and other occasional graphics. He mastered all graphic techniques, often using lithography and wood engraving. The second part of the work is painting, which increasingly focused on portrait and scientific study of the horse. In addition to prints and paintings, he made several stamps with horse motifs, illustrated a number of books on various themes, and illustrated some textbooks. He was a long-time collaborator of the editorial staff of Our magazine, for which he made hundreds of drawings and dozens of color supplements. He has worked as a book illustrator for Sfinx, Union, 777 bibliophile publishing house. He has won numerous awards and medals at home and abroad. Among the most important is the "Pesin Medal" awarded by the author in 1969 to the Veterinary College in Brno for his merits in painting animals. His solo exhibitions were in almost all cities that had some relation to horse breeding, as well as in the artist's birthplace. Hollar and a large posthumous exhibition at Kozel u Plzně, a permanent exhibition of prints, drawings and paintings, are located in the chateau and stud farm in Kladruby nad Labem and are represented in foreign collections mainly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.