Oldřich Kulhánek, Czech painter

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Oldřich Kulhánek (1940 – 2013) is a famed Czhech artist whose illustrations appear on Czech banknotes and postage stamps. In 1971, Kulhánek was arrested for "defamation of the allied socialist states" for painting "a distorted portrait of Joseph Stalin, perforated five-pointed red stars or joyful faces of socialist workers turned into a hideous grin."

This Kafka-esque situation was to continue until 1972 and on the 5th of July 1973, he was tried in court. At this farce, like in a scene out of the writer Hašek's "Good Soldier Schweik", eleven of his prints were sentenced by the judge to be destroyed, i.e. burnt. However the "gentlemen" of the court, did no such thing, and kept the prints for themselves – which was tantamount to government sanctioned theft. Kulhánek later commented "I realised that one's situation in life, even if a tragic one, never lacks a touch of humour – though, usually very black humour!"

Oldřich Kulhánek (via Juxtapoz)