A Tribute to George Steiner

James P. Keenan

It was September 10th, 2018 and our international congress of bookplate artists and collectors had just ended in Prague.  On my way back to the States, I stopped off in Paris.  I was sitting in a little café one block from the Père Lachaise Cemetery when Marco Sonzogni’s proposal arrived in my email.  Marco introduced himself as a scholar of translation studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  He went on to say that he wanted to turn his attention to bookplate art as an intersemiotic translation and was wondering if our society would be willing to help him run a case study — a bookplate design competition. 

The timing was perfect!  Bookplate competitions help to stimulate the interest in this 575-year-old graphic art form among artists and printmakers everywhere.  This was especially important with our global bookplate congress coming up in San Francisco during September 2022!   We needed a sponsor and Marco’s idea for this project provided that solution. 

Dr. Sonzogni’s idea was to develop a bookplate for George Steiner (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Steiner). What an honor for our society to run the competition for this distinguished man of letters.  We initiated The George Steiner Bookplate Competition in 2019, but suddenly our website was severely compromised and we were forced to shut down. Ten months passed before our site was up and partially running again. At this point, it was necessary to extend the competition deadline. Sadly, George Steiner passed away on February 3rd, 2020. Our bookplate competition became “A Tribute to George Steiner.”

Over the past 40+ years I have organized a few competitions and one resulted in a traveling exhibition that toured major libraries throughout the USA for 9 years.  This time we had the advantages (and challenges) of promoting the competition through our social and professional networking pages.  On several platforms, our society has a following of 20,000+ artists, printmakers, librarians, bibliophiles, and art collectors.

We received entries created by 70 artists representing 27 nations.  There were over 300 total original print entries.  We are planning the development of online galleries and an in-person exhibition at the American Bookbinders Museum during our world congress in San Francisco (https://bookbindersmuseum.org). Victoria University will present an in-person and online exhibition too.  A limited-edition book will be launched in February 2022 and includes artwork by the top 20 finalists.  This edition will be published by Victoria University & the ASBC&D.

The 20 finalists were selected by our online jury of five.  Marco enlisted Dr. Sydney Shep, Reader in Book History and Printer at Wai-te-ata Press at Victoria University, and Dr. Rovena Troqe, Lecturer in Translation and Semiotics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.   I enlisted Olli Ylönen, the Executive Secretary of FISAE in Helsinki, Finland.  Our lists of top 20 finalists were presented to Deborah and Daniel Steiner who selected the 3 winners.

We look forward to future bookplate projects with Marco Sonzogni and Victoria University.  For many years we have emphasized the importance of organizing bookplate competitions.  When exhibited, collectors will be inspired to commission the artists to make new bookplates.  This guarantees the future for the art of the bookplate.  In addition, it fulfills our goals of building world friendships and camaraderie through the exchange of books and art.

The ASBC&Ds Tribute to George Steiner Bookplate Competition was sponsored, in part, by Peter Block and the Ira Block Foundation, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Steiner Family picked the top 3 entries and their explanations follow:

1) Gianna Alexopoulou – “is classical and a bit old-fashioned, but elegant and our father would I think have liked it most”.

1 – Gianna Alexopoulou, X1, Greece

2) Marina Terauds – “is original and speaks to the idea of a voyager among books which feels right”.

2 – Marina Terauds, C3,
Michigan, USA

3) Leontii Gryniuk – “is arresting, references Babel as do others – but in a strong way, and is just interesting”.

3 – Leontii Gryniuk, C4, Ukraine

They also commended the ex libris by K. M. Bak of Poland as “the most startling design solutions – “I would almost want to suggest trying an alternative background colour but I suspect black was chosen deliberately.  We don’t think our father would have chosen it, but he would have admired the design concepts”.

K. M. Bak, CGD, Poland –  Opus 1661 and 1662

Top 20 Participants

ASBC&D/FISAE Votes                                                             

1)   Deborah Chapman, Canada 

2)   Igor Kashinskiy, USA

3)   Nurgul Arikan, Turkey 

4)   Marina Terauds, USA

5)   K. M. Bak, Poland

6)   Pawel Delekta, Poland

7)   Sandro Chinellato, Italy

8)   Anna Wajda, Poland  

9)   Galina Pavlova, Bulgaria

10) Sonia Mottier, France  

11) Yuri Borovitsky, Russia

12) Ivo Mosele, Italy

13) Luigi Casalino, Italy

14) Olga Tereshenko, Belarus 

15) Sergey Kirnitskiy, Ukraine

16) Sjoerd Tegelaers, Netherlands

17) Maria Maddalena, Italy

18) Emilio Carrasco Guttierrez, Mexico 

19) Ruslan Agirba, Ukraine

20) Victor Manuel Ramos Colliere, Mexico

Victoria University Votes

 1)  Anna Wajda, Poland

 2)  Deborah Chapman, Canada

 3)  Emilio Carrasco, Mexico

 4)  Galina Pavlova, Bulgaria

 5)  Igor Kashinskiy, USA

 6)  Ivo Mosele. Italy

 7)  Luigi Casalino, Italy

 8)  Maria Maddalena Tuccelli, Italy

 9)  Nurgul Arikan, Turkey

10) Olga Tereshchenko, Belarus

11) Pawel Delekta, Poland

12) Ruslan Agirba, Ukraine

13) Sandro Chinellato, Italy

14) Sergey Kirnitskiy, Ukraine

15) Sjoerd Tegelaers, Netherlands

16) Sonia Mottier, France

17) Victor Manuel Ramos Colliere, Mexico

18) Yuri Borovitsky, Russia

19) Marina Terauds, USA

20) K. M. Bak, Poland 


All Participants By Country

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Néstor Rossi, Buenos Aires, Argentina   

I am a self-taught artist. I work in different techniques such as watercolors, acrylics, and engravings (woodcut, dry point and calligraphy).  Today I participate in Mail Art exchanges all over the world.
2017-Present – Participation in several international ex libris competitions
2018 – “The 300th Anniversary of the coronation of the Printing of the Mother of God of Trankai. Regina Lituaniae” (Lithuania)
2018 – Second Edition “Concorso Internazional Officine Incisorie – Ex-Libris In Fabula” (Italy) 
2018 – Concours International d’Ex-Libris – “Armistice et Paix” (France) 
2018 – International print exchange – “9 IN HAND PRESS” (USA) 
2017-2018 – Exchange ‘IPE Green Door Printmaking Studio’ (UK) 
2017-2018 – Ukranian Print Exchange (Ukraine) Awards 

Address: Santa Fe 722 Location: 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina (6500) 

Rossi, Nestor <Pelusa_23_35@hotmail.com>

Weiss, Irène – Argentina

Irène Weiss was born in Paris, France.  Since childhood she has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  She earned three Fine Arts degrees in Engraving, Drawing, and Painting.  She studied at the 3 Fine Arts Schools in Buenos Aires: “Manuel Belgrano”, “Prilidiano Pueyrredon”, and “Ernesto de la Carcova”.  She has been teaching Engraving in Fine Arts Schools in Buenos Aires for many years.
She has participated in 24 Solo Exhibitions and many Group Exhibitions. 
1988 – Retrospective Exhibition of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings – presented at the Town Council in Buenos Aires.  
1988 – Deleguee Latin-American for the Mini-Prints Triennials of the World at Chamalieres, France. 
2008 – She was Invited of Argentine Art Academy to participate in the”Trabucco Engraving Award” organized by the Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Center in Buenos Aires.  
2010 – The “5th Biennial International Print Douro” Alijo, Portugal. 
2011 – She had a Solo Exhibition in the Printmaking Center “Helios”, Thessaloniki, Greece, and in the Mauriac Library, France. Print National Exhibition, Palais de Glace, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She has won Awards in Municipal, National, and International Exhibitions.- such as: India, France, Spain, and Argentina.   Her works are held in the National Library, Cabinets d’Estampes in both Paris and Madrid Museums.
2011 – Publication of the Art Book “Petites Memoires”.

Libertad 1698 3° A (1016) Buenos Aires, Argentina

Weiss, Irène <weiss.irene@gmail.com>


Tereshenko, Olga – Belarus – Finalist

Olga Tereshenko  – Belarus  (b. 1957)

Olga Tereshenko was born in Belarus. She graduated from Kharkov Art Industrial Institute, Department of Industrial Graphics and Packaging in 1980. After graduation, she moved to Minsk to work as a graphic artist.  Olga makes illustrations for children’s books, package designs, and labels. She works in etchings and linocuts,  participating in exhibitions of ex libris and miniprints worldwide.  She makes drawings, watercolors, and works with computer generated designs (CGD).

Tereshenko, Olga <olga.tereshenko@gmail.com>


Baczynsky, Michèle – Belgium

Michèle Baczynsky (b. 1960) 
Through my studies of French Literature (in the 1980s), I read The Death of Tragedy. This was an important discovery.

Since then I have been a follower of George Steiner – his writing, interviews, lectures, and so on. 

It is a brilliant idea to celebrate this man, his work, his vision, his books through an Ex Libris.
In my design, you will see the connection between the Ex Libris and George Steiner with references to music and to his links with Jewish History and Culture.
Michèle Baczynsky was born in Brussels and lived for several years in Israel and in Paris, France.  Today she resides in Brussels.

She started her artistic career in 1989 as a singer with the Trio Mosaïc (CD released by SubRosa), then created a band: Talita Koumi – CD released by Syncoop Produkties; concert at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, as well as numerous festivals in Belgium and abroad.

In 2004, she discovered engraving.

2010: “Une Cuisinière au Paradis” – short story published  in “L’Autre”

2017: co-author (fiction) – “Les Enfants de la Red Star Line” Editions Renaissance du Livre.

2011: Exhibition in the gallery LesArts, Brussels

2013, Maison de la Culture Yiddish, in Paris, invited her to display her linocut work: Le Roi Chat-Lomon, 10 ans de linogravures.

Michèle exhibits her work regularly since 2013 – either in solo or group art exhibitions.

2014: Parcours d’artistes Saint-Gilles ( Brussels)

2017: Global Print Douro (Portugal)

2018: Parcours d’artistes Jette (Brussels)

2018: Parcours d’artistes Saint-Gilles (Brussels)

2018: Biennial Print of Douro  (Portugal).

2019: Diplomated- Arts of printing- Ecole des Arts d’Uccle (Brussels)

2020: Expo Carte de visite ( Brussels)2020: Parcours d’artistes- Saint -Gilles


Michèle Baczynsky, 16, avenue Albert, 1190 Brussels, Belgium

Baczynsky, Michèle  <mbaczynsky@gmail.com>

Baeyens, Martin – Belgium

Martin R. Baeyens (b. 1943)

Martin Baeyens is an active painter, graphic artist, and designer.

He has a long list of solo exhibitions (130+) in Belgium and other countries, he has participated in (1100+) group exhibitions worldwide.  Martin has received (165+) awards from many international contests and exhibitions.

Today he holds an important and special place in the Ex Libris global network.

He has designed & printed (900) Ex Libris.  Most of them are in silk screen process and CGD.

Nature is at the center of his art work. He seeks for a balance between technology and nature and therefore he useselectronic circuit printing plates.

In his free graphic prints he also specializes in the silk screen process. He prints his works himself, a technique in which he is a perfectionist.

For 40 years he has been a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.He has been a visiting lecturer at the Frans Masereel Centre for Graphic Arts in Belgium, the Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, USA and in several university’s in China, Turkey, North  Cyprus, and Poland. Through the Erasmus Educational Exchange Project he was invited to academies in Barcelona, Lisbon, Krakow and Limerick.


Martin R. Baeyens, Schildekensstraat 55, B 9340 Smetlede, BELGIUM

Baeyens, Martin R.  <martin.baeyens@telenet.be>