ARTS ET METIERS GRAPHIQUES no. 55, November 1936. Charles Peignot [Directeur]. Paris: Deberny et Peignot.

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November 1936

Charles Peignot [Directeur]


Charles Peignot [Directeur]: ARTS ET METIERS GRAPHIQUES 55. Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1936. Issue number 55. Text in French. Published in an edition of 4,000 copies. A very good softcover perfect-bound book in stiff, printed wrappers: covers lightly soiled and spine tips chipped. Increasingly uncommon.

9.5 x 12.25 softcover magazine with stiff printed wrappers mechanically bound with wire staples. Legendary French Arts magazine published by Charles Peignot that represented the state-of-the-art in fine publishing in pre-war France. Each issue was printed by a wide variety of presses and techniques and collated by Deberny et Peignot. Every issue of Arts et Métiers Graphiques includes tip-ins, lithographs and many other special finishing effects to make them a singular aesthetic experience. Highly recommended.

Contents for Arts et Métiers Graphiques Paris Issue No.: 55 [Date Published: 11/1/1936]

  • The War of Troy will not take place: 4 page(s): Exercise in typesetting a play.
  • Panoramic Papers: 10 page(s): About a panoramic style of wallpaper composed of images printed and hung in register on walls.
  • The Secrets and Laws of Sound Printing: 10 page(s): Describes the process of manufacturing phonograph records.
  • The Symbolism Exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale: 2 page(s)
  • First Salon of Graphic Arts and Trades: 1 page(s): Announcement that AMG is sponsoring this Salon to take place for the first time in March 1937.
  • The Greek Herbalists: 6 page(s)
  • Monkey gathering crocus: fresco of the royal palace of Knossos: 1 page(s)
  • Maillol: 5 page(s)
  • Old Paper Mills in Auvergne: 6 page(s)
  • Paper sample from Auvergne made by Lebon-Bonnefoy: 1 page(s)
  • Popular Imagery from Old Russia: 9 page(s): Describes a genre of Russian stories, published with large illustrations. Provides translations for the reproductions published in the article
  • Colonies of Woman Painters: 1 page(s)
  • The Graphics News: 4 page(s)
  • Project for a "House of Advertising": 2 page(s) Architectural drawings for this building, which would be a showcase for French advertising.
  • A beautiful book (Review of Guégan's new book on the history of medicine): 1 page(s)
  • Bibliography (Announcement for new book releases): 2 page(s)
  • The first printed book at Aix-en-Provence? (The first book from Aix was on law, printed in 1552): 3 page(s)
  • Vaugirard Printery Is the Typographic Press of Arts et Métiers Graphiques: 1 page(s); Conjectures on the Next State of the Bibliophile: 1 page(s); The King's Party on the Champs-Elysées (wallpaper published around 1816, complete in 25 widths): 1 page(s); Lithography by André Robert illustrating "Didine in the Country of Words": 1 page(s); Cave paintings, Southern Africa. Plates from the French Encyclopedia: 2 page(s); A young pharmacist preparing medicines (miniature from the XIII th century): 1 page(s); A papermaking workshop in the eighteenth century: 1 page(s); A specimen page of the work of Imprimerie Basler Druck: 1 page(s); Party hair with Coloral: 1 page(s).


Arts et Métiers Graphiques (AMG) was a prominent French graphic arts journal that published sixty-eight issues in total, on a bi-monthly basis from September 1927 to May 1939. The magazine reported on diverse themes that impacted the graphic arts, including: the history of printing, typography, advertising design, photography, and technical advances of the time.

AMG was conceived by Charles Peignot, head of the French typefoundry, Deberny et Peignot ( the leading company of its kind in France). In AMG, Peignot wanted to cover "all the subjects near or far from printing, of its history, and its diverse contemporary manifestations."

In over ten years of publication, Peignot's wide editorial goal came to encompass subjects ranging from illustration, history of the book, and printing techniques, to the expanding disciplines of advertising design and modern art photography. The magazine also featured regular reviews of fine limited-edition books and reprints of classical literature excerpts in typographically innovative layouts. Each edition was printed on high-quality papers with frequent tip-ins and inserts. Until World War II forced the magazine to cease production, AMG maintained one of the highest standard for graphic arts magazines of its time.

In 1927, Peignot launched the first edition of AMG, a magazine that would become a world forum for trends in the graphic arts. Peignot's goal was to print "the most interesting and luxurious [magazine of art] in the world." He did so by assembling a noteworthy staff that reported on subjects ranging from the history of writing, to photography, to Picasso's latest canvases. The magazine was a fixture of fine printing and journalism for twelve years until the onset World War II disrupted its production.

Approximately 4,000 copies of the magazine were released bimonthly on the fifteenth of the month. This short run enhanced the magazine's status as a collectible item. The magazine was sold mainly through subscriptions, one third of which were foreign from Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Early issues included an insert that summarized articles in English. For binding, the text block was collected as leaves and mechanically bound with wire staples. Printed paper covers were then glued onto the blocks.

The attention to detail on all production fronts—design, typography, writing, photography, and printing—was intended to serve the interests of the French intelligentsia who were the connoisseurs of deluxe publications.

The concept of the deluxe publication was critical to AMG's editorial vision because each publication of its caliber it was necessary to collaborate across the lines of the graphic arts. In these books, typography served subject matter, illustration was inspired by theme, and the printing and binding processes contributed to the preciousness of a singular work whose production required a writer, designer, illustrator, typographer, printer, and binder.

Charles Peignot made connections with the key participants in the Deco and Modernist movements around the time of the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. A. M. Cassandre, (nee Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron), won first prize at the Expo for a furniture store's poster design entitled "Au Bûcheron." From this introduction, Peignot commissioned Cassandre to design letters for the foundry.

Following the Art Deco premiere at the 1925 Exposition, Cassandre joined with designer Jean Carlu to form a group of artists whose mission would be to advance Modernist aesthetics in all applications of design and thought. The Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) was born of this common goal. Charles Peignot, joined the group's membership with the likes of writer Jean Cocteau, Nobel laureate André Gide, architect Le Courbusier, decorator Sonia Delaunay, Maxmilien Vox, and other artists.

Peignot later clarified the group's purpose: "Together we tried to break away from the style that survived the first World War. It is not surprising that I tried to accomplish in my field what my friends were doing in theirs."

With a supportive peer group, a willing audience, a rejuvenated economy, and the fine reputation of his firm, Charles Peignot was set to become a leader in his field.

AMG reported consistently on ten mainstay themes. The constant staples were "Book and Printing History," "Illustration," "Bibliophily," "Graphic Arts Techniques," "Contemporary Graphic Design," and a miscellany of articles that can only be described as "Variety."

Articles on typography were a constant presence, but a specific column on foreign typography, only appeared regularly for the first two years. "Autographe" or "Writing Analysis" was a regular topic for a few issues in the 1930s.

The editorial format of AMG changed little through its ten years. The magazine opened with at least two pages of full-page advertisements. Then on a recto page, was the table of contents, along with the imprint, and editorial credits. On the reverse of this leaf was a comprehensive colophon that listed the name of the printer and printing process for each plate in the issue.

An "article de tête," (roughly meaning: "thinking article"), followed the colophon. Here, a signature of four pages presented an excerpt from a literary text in a creative typographic layout, printed with additional color plates on fine paper.

"Graphic Arts Techniques," "Book and Printing History," and "Variety" articles rounded out the first half of the magazine. The "Techniques" columns explained common reproduction processes of the time through diagrams and photo-essays. Their content was fairly general since the audience was not typically bluecollar pressmen, but scholars and professionals instead. To reinforce the effects of the technical process, an illustration made from the specific process always accompanied the article.

The "History" articles covered foremost the virtual pantheon of figures in printing history. Each article was a lengthy salute to these individuals, complete with numerous reproductions of printing exemplars and page spreads from first editions. Other articles in this category focused on some aspect of printing history that evolved through a particular era, such as 19th century book design.

The "Variety" articles were an eclectic mix of subjects that were always pertinent to graphic arts even in covering the mundane. Subject matter here included the history of printed handkerchiefs, the design of road-signs, early citrus fruit labels, food sculpture, gourd decoration, and the creation of Indian sand paintings.

The second half of the magazine consistently included a feature article on a successful graphic artist of the period. This "Illustration" article was embellished with reproductions of the artist's work, a short bibliography of his or her publications, and sometimes a photographic or self-drawn portrait.

The column called "L'OEil du Bibliophile," "The Eye of the Bibliophile", often followed with reviews of the finest limited-edition books. AMG provided the service of announcing the deluxe editions and offering an original plate from some of them as proof of their superior quality.

The section, "L'Actualité Graphique,""The Graphics News," dominated the back portion as a portfolio of new and noteworthy graphic design. Here, designs for advertising posters, packaging, booklets, and point-of-purchase displays were reproduced with small captions and little explanatory text. Sumptuous color plates were regularly placed in this section.

Magazine issues concluded with "Notes et Échos," a section for announcements, letters to the editor, short articles, and numerous advertisements by booksellers, publishing companies, paper manufacturers, ad agencies, and foreign graphic arts magazines.

The typographic layout of AMG can be considered as the most pervasive theme of the magazine. Like perpetual advertising, each issue was almost entirely hand-set with Deberny et Peignot typefaces that changed with the trends of the time. In 1927, AMG was first set in Naudin, a traditional serif typeface with long ascenders from the Deberny and Peignot catalogue. As the content became more progressive, sans serifs gradually appeared. Also, when Cassandre's Bifur was introduced, it became an instant signature display typeface for advertisements and articles that needed an ultra-modernistic look. In accordance with the 1937 Exposition, which deemed Peignot as the official type-face of the event, AMG was set entirely in the same uncial-inspired face.

Just as the typeface choices were novel, so too were the text layouts that employed those faces. Aligned with the foundry's mission to sell type, the creative design of AMG needed to be at the vanguard in order to serve Peignot's ambition of creating a magazine that aspired to be the reference in the graphic arts. Excellent journalism and design were on par with each other. Evidence of this is shown in the fact that the magazine's colophon was placed at the front of the issue for all to see, instead as an afterthought squeezed into fine print at the end.

Along with elegant typesetting and design, the magazine frequently published articles that discussed type from different perspectives. Type history, type designers, type classification, and type design aesthetics were subjects all broached in AMG.

Charles Peignot first published AMG in 1927. To do this, he assembled an editorial staff made up of men from his father's generation and peers from his own. In this way, AMG sprung from a perfect balance of time-tested experience and forward-thinking enthusiasm. Each member's expertise served a specific purpose. From the old guard, Peignot collaborated with Henri-Albert Motti, director of Imprimerie de Vaugirard, whose firm printed AMG through its final issue in 1939.

Also, Léon Pichon, an editor, printer, and type designer, and advertising director Walter Maas worked on the director's committee. Lucien Vogel, prolific publisher of three other monthlies, Gazette du Bonton, Jardin des Modes, and Vu, advised on the magazine's audience appeal. Rounding out this group was François Haab, who served as the editor-in-chief. From Peignot's generation was Bertrand Guégan who contributed to nearly every issue, first as the "Book History and Bibliophile" columnist, then as a regular book reviewer.

Although not an official staff-member, Maximilien Vox wrote regularly on typographic design through all ten years of the magazine's publication. With this host of talent, Peignot could realize his "most interesting and luxurious [art magazine] in the world."

Thanks to Amelia Hugill-Fontanel and her Graduate Research at the Rochester Institute of Technology for production of this listing.