Explore Oldřich Kulhánek’s World of Banknotes at a Czech National Bank exhibition

bannner – Explore Oldřich Kulhánek’s World of Banknotes at a Czech National Bank exhibition

The initial artistic designs for 1970s Czechoslovak money, satirical Funny Money and the life stories of the current Czech banknotes – all this and more will be on display at the Czech National Bank (CNB) Visitor Centre from 27 March, when a unique exhibition, Oldřich Kulhánek’s World of Banknotes, will open to the public. Entry will be free of charge.

The exhibition, with its many symbols and intricate details, will guide visitors through the banknote design work of the Czech painter, graphic designer and illustrator Oldřich Kulhánek. The initial designs he created for Czechoslovak paper money in the early 1970s will be on show. Other exhibits will include his satirical Funny Money lithographs and the banknotes we use to this day.

“According to contemporary sources, Oldřich Kulhánek had a distinctive view of the world, a view inspired by man and humanity. Because he was able to capture this view artistically and render it in an original way, often using symbols, the current Czech banknotes are an utterly unique combination of art and security features,” says Czech National Bank board member Karina Kubelková, adding, “Yet the artwork, which honours Czech history and tradition, does not compromise security. Quite the contrary, it allows us to have a whole range of security features on our banknotes.”

“When creating a banknote, Oldřich Kulhánek would begin by acquiring a detailed knowledge of the figure he was depicting,” says the CNB’s chief archivist and curator of the exhibition Jakub Kunert, adding, “He wanted each design to capture to perfection the life story of the person he was portraying. As a result, this Czech painter, graphic designer and illustrator was a true teller of Czech history and of the fate of important representatives of the Czech nation.”

The Oldřich Kulhánek’s World of Banknotes exhibition is made up of several blocks. The first is devoted to Kulhánek as an artist. The second focuses on his early work dating from the start of the 1970s, which was never put into production. This is followed by the 1990s, when the State Bank of Czechoslovakia chose Kulhánek to design its new banknotes. After creating the CSK 200 banknote, he was commissioned to design another seven notes, which later became the currency of the independent Czech Republic. Part of the exhibition concerns the motifs of the current Czech banknotes. A block of satirical Funny Money lithographs shows Kulhánek’s distinctive take on money, both Czech and foreign.

Štěpánka Filipová
CNB spokesperson