Design and comfort

A set of drawings by the carver and altar maker Ladislav Tfirst from Podolínec was found in the village of Hrachovište near Stará Turá. A local priest and a few parishioners had rescued several boxes, a modest property of a homeless person, from fire. People remembered that he used to help out at the constructions in the area. He had originally come from Spiš and the boxes he had been keeping belonged to his father. Local people, however, had not seen him for several years and did not know anything about his fate. The biggest section among the things rescued was a seemingly inconsistent set of drawings, prints and designs of profane as well as sacral furniture. In this set the most numerous were classworks which show what the artistic and craftsmanship training of a carver in the 1920’s would be like. Thus the drawings by an artistic carver and one of the last altar architecture makers in Spiš had made their way into the museum’s collection fund. Ladislav Tfirst (17th February 1908 – 14th June 1984) was a son of the chief notary Rudolf Tfirst in Podolínec. He began his studies in the secondary school in Kežmarok and continued with a three year course at the Wood Processing School in Spišská Nová Ves. Among the most famous Tfirst’s works is the interior of the chapel in the Symbolic Cemetry at Popradské Lake in the High Tatras. Following the year 1948 he was employed in the production coop Javorina in Spišská Belá, however, lived until his death in his birth place in Podolínec where he is also buried together with his wife Elena.
The set of drawings, which his son had been keeping as his only property, is an evidence of carvers’ artistic training offered in vocational tuition in Spiš, in particular at the Wood Processing School in Spišská Nová Ves. The school was founded in 1899 in Spišská Nová Ves as the Hungarian Royal State Wood Industry Vocational School (Igló Magyar királyi állámi faipari szakiskola). The tuition focused on professional subjects and practice as well as general education. Excursions used to be part of the education process. Students of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes used to travel within Austro-Hungary, students of the 4th year also to other European countries, mostly Germany and France. The school is still active under the name Secondary Vocational Wood Processing School and trains students in wood processing and furniture making subjects.

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