Ivan Steiger

Ivan Steiger was born in Prague 26 January 1939.

Having passed his final exams at the Technical Film School, I.S. went on to study at the Prague Film Faculty, where he trained under the well-known Czech writer Milan Kundera. He graduated as film and TV script reader and director (Magister of Art) in 1967. While still at the Faculty he wrote short stories, novellas and screen plays and was awarded several prizes for young writers.

In 1961 he took to drawing. His cartoons-drawings were published in leading Czech literary and art magazines. The official artistic agency could, at the time, offer abroad his work solely to friendly, i.e. left-wing publications, e.g. "L'Unita", "Vie Nuove", "Daily Worker", "Freie Welt", "Eulenspiegel", and the Viennese "Abendzeitung" and "Vorwärts".

In 1964 began a very successful sixteen-year-long collaboration with the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". Followed the"Abendzeitung" from Munich and "The Tribune" in London. The "Daily Mirror" published for two months Steiger's drawings on their famous "Inside Page".

In 1966-67 I.S. worked with "twen", "Encounter" and "Die Zeit". After several exhibitions in Czechoslovakia, I.S. exhibited for the first time in 1966 in West Berlin. He was awarded the gold medal at Bordighera, at the Montreal Cartoonale and at Heist-Duinest.

In 1967 followed exhibitions in Montreal, Prague, at the Viennese Kunsthaus, in Graz and Detroit.

In 1968 I.S. took part in a travelling exhibition that visited Reggio Emilia, Modena, Torino, Ferrara and Munich.

In 1969 followed other travelling exhibitions - Ottawa, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Copenhagen, again West Berlin, the Viennese Kunsthaus and Hamburg. I.S. also participated in major travelling exhibitions of cartoonists working for the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Once I.S.left his homeland and settled in Munich (1968), the fragile flower growing out of a treet stump, became not only a symbol of occupied Czechoslovakia , but also Steiger's personal signature and expression of his programme - the principle of hope.

Steiger published his first book in Germany already in September 1968 - "Ivan Steigers Tagebuch" (I.S.'s diary). The series of his sixteen books culminated with 350 drawings-essays on motifs from the Old and New Testament - "Ivan Steiger sieht die Bibel" (I.S. looks at the Bible), commissioned by the German Bible Society and the publishers Katholisches Bibelwerk. Then came a book of proverbs - "Gottes Auge is uberall" (God's eye is everywhere).

In the seventies and eighties Ivan Steiger had two exhibitions in Munich. At the time he worked chiefly for "The Christian Science Monitor", "Punch", "Il Giornale", "Los Angeles Examiner", "Chicago Tribune" and the Swiss "Weltwoche" and "Nebelspalter".

In 1978 Ivan Steiger was granted German citizenship.

During the Moscow Olympic Games "The Times" in London and "Le Figaro" in Paris published every day his cartoons on their front pages.

For sixteen years, since 1982, I.S. produced for the German TV channel ZDF documentaries-feature films that were shown on Christmas Eve. The topic were invariably toys - objects of his passionate collecting.

In 1983 I.S.opened in Munich at the Alter Rathausturm (Tower of the Old Town Hall) on Marienplatz a Toy Museum. A few years later a similar museum opened at Prague Castle (Hradèany).

In 1983 his cartoons published in the FAZ were exhibited at the Frankfurt Press Club.

In 1986 I.S.painted his first expressively primitive to abstract acryl pictures, so far never shown in public.

Ivan Steiger lives in turn in Munich/Schwabing and at Schnaitsee near the Bavarian Alps. He is married and has two daughters.

Quotation: "I have grasped the meaning of my life at the very moment I lost the ability to express it in words."

Ivan Steiger's Books