The World Fairs: New York and San Francisco, Will Burtin (Designer)

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The World Fairs: New York and San Francisco: June 1939

Will Burtin [Designer]

Architectural Forum [Editors]: THE ARCHITECTURAL FORUM June 1939. Philadelphia: Time, Inc. 1939 [Volume 70, number 6]. A near-fine original magazine with wire spiral binding: cover faintly dusty and a trace of edgewear. The spiral binding is in unusually good condition and does not bind any pages when opened. An unusually nice copy thus. Magnificent cover design by Will Burtin.
8.75 x 11.75 spiral-bound amgazine with 128 pages of editorial content, as well as the 104-page Special Section The World Fairs: New York and San Francisco: with 375 black and white images and 2 fold-out full-color Maps (the SF map is by Ernest Born).This special 104-page special section of the Architectural Forum is devoted to a complete overview of the competing 1939 Worlds’ Fairs and remains one of the best visual reviews of the 1939 Fairs, and by extension one of the best souvenirs of the American Streamline Moderne Machine Age aesthetic. There are also an excellent assortment of vintage trade advertisements that espouse the depression moderne streamline aesthetic quite nicely. You have been warned.

375 black and white images were carefully assembled by Art Director Burtin to tell the visual story of the NYC and SF Worlds Fairs. The effect is stunning to say the least. This is truly one of the finest original documents of 1930s American Design in the Industrial and Architectural Arts. My highest recommendation.

  • GENERAL - Introduction;Theme Center;  Federal Building;  Court of States, Pennsylvania.
  • TRANSPORTATION EXHIBITS: General Motors;  Ford;  Aviation.
  • ELECTRICAL EXHIBITS: General Electric;  Consolidated Edison;   Electric Utilities ;  Westinghouse;  Lighting Displays.
  • INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITS: Petroleum Industries;   Budd Mfg. Co. ;  U.S. Steel;   Dupont;   Glass Center.
  • COMMUNICATION EXHIBITS : American Telegraph and Telephone;  Radio Corporation of America.
  • HOUSES: Town of Tomorrow;   Electric Farm.
  • CONSUMERS' EXHIBITS: American Radiator;   food Building, No.3;  Distillers;  Borden Co.
  • ENTERTAINMENT : Fountain Lake Amphitheater;  Theater and Concert Hall;  Children's World.
  • FOREIGN NATIONS : Finland;  Sweden;  Britain;  Brazil;  Argentine;  Chile; Venezuela; Belgium; France; Netherlands; Denmark; Norway ;  Italy;  Japan;  Poland;  U.S.S.R;  Irreland;  Switzerland.
  • GENERAL : Court of Pacifica;  Elephant Towers;  Court of Flowers;  The Lagoon;  Federal Building;  Decorative Arts;  Pacific House;  California Auditorium and State Building;  San Francisco Building;  Public Utilities Commission Exhibit;  County Buildings;  Verba Buena Club;  Hall of Flowers.
  • INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITS : Del Monte;  U.S. Steel;  Dow Chemical;  Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co.;  Armour and Co.
  • FOREIGN NATIONS : Brazil;  Argentina;  Japan;  Italy;  Czecho-Stovakia ;  Sweden;  Portugal.
  • Month In Building; Architect's World; Diary; Forum Of Events; Books; Letters

Designers, architects, manufacturers, artists and photographers include: (For NY): Henry Dreyfuss, Wlater Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Xanti Scawinsky, Albert Kahn, Norman Bel Geddes, Futurama, Walter Dorwin Teague, William Lescaze, Alexander Calder, Skidmore and Owings, Gilbert Rohde,  Louis Fernstadt, A. Lawrence Kocher, James Earle Fraser, Leo Friedlander, Isamu Noguchi, Carl Milles, Paul manship, Carl Schmitz, Harry Poole Camden, Robert Foster, Edward Durell Stone, Morris Sanders, Witold Gordon, Winold Reiss, George Howe, Alvar Aalto, Oscar Niemeyer, Alfredo Guido, Luis Lopez Mendez, Herbert Matter, aand many others; (For SF): Ernest Born, Ralph Stackpole, Donald Macky, Lewis Hobart, William Merchant, Timothy Pflueger, Oscar Stonorov, Lucien Labaudt, William Wilson Wurster, Frances Elkins, Squire Knowles, Walter Dorwin Teague, Alden Jones, Gardner Dailey, and many others.

Will Burtin (1909 - 1972) studied typography and design at the Cologne Werkschule. He practiced design successfully in Germany before emigrating to the US in 1938. He worked for the US Army Air Force designing graphics and exhibitions before becoming Art Director of Fortune magazine in 1945. His work for Fortune was marked by innovative solutions to presenting complex information in graphically understandable ways. In 1949 he established his own firm. Among his clients were the Upjohn Company, Union Carbide, Eastman Kodak and The Smithsonian Institution. Burtin’s great genius was in his ability to visualize complex scientific and technological information. He created several award winning exhibitions including the 1958 model of a human blood cell. He was awarded the AIGA medal in 1971. Burtin believed that through his work he could become the “communicator, link, interpreter and inspirer” who is able to make scientific knowledge comprehensible.