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Herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer [former master of the bauhaus]:  EXHIBITION OF ADVERTISING ART, POSTERS, DESIGNS . . . . . BY HERBERT BAYER. New York: The Composing Room/PM Gallery, 1939. First edition.  Single 7 x 16.75 printed recto only and folded twice to form a 3.5 x 8.375 exhibition brochure. A fine, uncirculated example. Rare.

3.5 x 8.375 exhibition brochure on blue [recto only] stock printed in black with typography by Herbert Bayer, promoting his “first one-man showing in America” from April 12 – 30, 1939 at the PM Gallery on West 37th Street. The inexpensive — and colorful — single-sided coated paper stock for this announcment was a staple of the Manhattan art world during the height of the Great Depression. We have handled announcements from a variety of museums and galleries featuring the same single-color offset printing and folding to produce simple, yet effective brochures and exhibition announcements.

Erin Malone writes: In 1936, Dr. Robert Leslie, assisted by Hortense Mendel, began showing the work of emigre and young artists in an empty room in The Composing Room offices. Called the PM [and later A-D] Gallery, it was the first place in New York City dedicated to exhibiting the graphic and typographic arts.

The first exhibit as described by Percy Seitlin: "A young man by the name of Herbert Matter had just arrived in this country from Switzerland with a bagful of ski posters and photgraphs of snow covered mountains. Also came camera portraits and various specimens of his typographic work. We decided to let him hang some of his things on the walls and gave him a party... the result was a crowd of almost bargain-basement dimensions, and thirsty too. Everyone was excited by the audacity and skill of Matter's work."

The PM Gallery was one of the only places in New York city for young artists to come into contact with the work of european emigres and soon became a social meeting place for designers to meet each other, as well as prospective clients and employers. Dr. Leslie knew many people in New York and went out of his way to introduce people to each other. The gallery and the magazine became mirrors of each other. Often a feature in the magazine would become a show and vice-versa.

“Seitlin noted that the show helped strengthen the conviction he and Leslie had gained from publishing the magazine, “that there was an enthusiastic audience for a showcase featuring the work of artists-in-industry; and, furthermore, that the audience was larger than we had originally thought it ever could be.” Shows devoted to photographers Samuel Bernard Schaeffer and André Kertész followed. In 1940 the gallery’s name was changed to the A-D Gallery and the premises extended as the range of subjects widened. Exhibitors included German wood engraver Hans Alexander Mueller, a major proponent of the wordless graphic story, as well as German émigrés Herbert Bayer and George Salter. While selecting subjects for the vitality and freshness of their work, Leslie also dedicated himself to helping those fleeing Nazi oppression to become known and to meet the right people.” —Steven Heller

Of all the artists to pass through the Bauhaus, none lived the Bauhaus ideal of total integration of the arts into life like Herbert Bayer (1900 - 1985). He was a graphic designer, typographer, photographer, painter, environmental designer, sculptor and exhibition designer. He entered the Bauhaus in 1921 and was greatly influenced by Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitzky. He left in 1923, but returned in 1925 to become a master in the school. During his tenure as a Bauhaus master he produced many designs that became standards of a Bauhaus "style." Bayer was instrumental in moving the Bauhaus to purely sans serif usage in all its work. In 1928 he left the Bauhaus to work in Berlin. He primarily worked as a designer and art director for the Dorland Agency, an international firm. During his years at Dorland a Bayer style was established. Bayer emigrated to the United States in 1938 and set up practice in New York. His US design included work for NW Ayers, consultant art director for J. Walter Thompson and design work for GE. From 1946 on he worked exclusively for Container Corporation of America (CCA) and the Atlantic Richfield Corporation. In 1946 he moved to Aspen to become design consultant to CCA. In 1956 he became chairman of the department of design, a position he held until 1965. He was awarded the AIGA medal in 1970. Bayer's late work included work for ARCO and many personal projects including several environmental designs.