The Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau worked on a tale about the legendary character Don Juan, who was constantly looking in vain for “the ideal woman”, causing his melancholy. The story was published posthumously in 1851. In 1918, Hugo Steiner-Prag designed lithographic “dramatic scenes” about Lenau’s Don Juan that were published at Graupe, Berlin.
Hugo Steiner-Prag was born Hugo Steiner in Prague on December 12, 1880. He entered the Prague Academy of the Arts in 1897, and in 1900 he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He added the name of his native city to his last name to distinguish himself from other artists with the same name. Steiner-Prag transferred to the Lehr- und Versuchsstätte in Munich and later became a teacher there. During this time, he worked on illustrations of E.T.A. Hoffmann's stories, which cemented his reputation as an illustrator and book designer. In 1907 he was offered a position as professor at Leipzig's Royal Academy of Graphic Arts and Book Trade. Steiner-Prag also became art director of the Propylaeen publishing house in Berlin. In 1933 the Nazis terminated Steiner-Prag's position and he returned to Prague, where he established a private school for book arts and graphic design, called Officina Pragensis. In 1938, he set up a similar school in Stockholm. In 1941, he immigrated to the US where he taught at NYU. In 1943, he mounted a successful exhibition at the New York Public Library. Hugo Steiner-Prag suffered a heart attack and died on September 10, 1945 in New York City.
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Steiner-Prag, Hugo: Don Juan : dramatische Szenen von Nikolaus Lenau / mit Steinzeichnungen von Hugo Steiner-Prag, Leo Baeck Institute, 78.807.