SCHAWINSKY. Franco Solmi [preface] and Enrico Brenna [introduction]: XANTI SCHAWINSKY. Milan: Galleria Blu, 1975.

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Franco Solmi [preface] and Enrico Brenna [introduction]

Franco Solmi [preface] and Enrico Brenna [introduction]: XANTI SCHAWINSKY. Milan: Galleria Blu, 1975. First edition. Text in Italian. Slim quarto. Glossy printed stapled wrappers. 24 pp. 4 color images. 24 black and white images. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. Minor shelf wear including slight creasing to both the front and back covers, but a nearly fine copy.

6.75 x 9.25 staple-bound book with 24 pages with 12 black-and-white plates and 4 color plates. Printed in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name: Galleria Blu, Milan [May – June 1975]. Includes a timeline, exhibition history, and a catalog of the pieces in the exhibition, which date from 1968–1975.

Alexander “Xanti” Schawinsky (1904, Basel–1979, Locarno) is usually known either for the activities of his early career, as a young ‘enfant terrible’ of Bauhaus theatre, or for the work he produced at its close as a respected and mature abstract artist. However these two perspectives ignore his tremendous versatility, and the important role he had to play in bringing Modernist ideas to different parts of the inter-war world.

Schawinsky was born in Switzerland, the son of a Polish Jew. His creative nature was obvious from an early age, and in his teens he studied art and music in Zurich, before travelling to Berlin and Cologne to learn about design and architecture. In 1924 he enrolled at the Bauhaus, and became involved in the school’s vibrant theatrical scene, also focusing on photography and painting. From the mid 1920s Schawinsky undertook wide range of professional commissions, working as a stage designer, a municipal studio director and a freelance designer. He also returned to the Bauhaus to teach.

In 1933 Germany’s growing intolerance forced him to move to Milan, where he spent several years producing commercial graphic design in association with Studio Boggeri. An invitation to join the progressive Black Mountain College brought him to the USA in 1936. He spent two years at Black Mountain introducing Bauhaus ideas to his American students, before moving to New York to take up freelance design and pursue painting – an activity which absorbed almost all of his attention in his final years. As innovative in commercial art as he was in his unpaid pieces, Schawinsky’s work demonstrated the huge creative power of the inter-war meeting of art and industry.