RING NEUE WERBEGESTALTER 1928 – 1933: EIN UBERBLICK. Typographie Kann Unter Umstanden Kunst Sein. Hannover: Sprengel Museum, 1990.

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Perdita Lottner [essay]

Perdita Lottner [essay]: RING "NEUE WERBEGESTALTER" 1928 – 1933: EIN UBERBLICK. [TYPOGRAPHIE KANN UNTER UMSTANDEN KUNST SEIN]. Hannover: Sprengel Museum, 1990. Text in German. Quarto. Thick photo illustrated french folded wrappers. 140 pp. 118 color plates. 46 black and white text illustrations.  Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. Cover image by Jan Tschichold. Trace of wear, otherwise a nearly fine copy.

9.5 x 11.5 softcover catalogue with 140 pages and 118 color and monochrome plates of avant-garde typographic design and advertising work. This is a museum exhibition overview of Kurt Schwitter's Circle of New Advertising Designers (Ring Neue Werbegestalter) and includes many examples of avant-garde advertising from the late 1920s and early 1930s. I am a huge fan of this work, and there are many examples presented herein that I have never seen before. Enough said.

Includes work by and biographic information on Willi Baumeister, Max Burchartz, Walter Dexel, Cesar Domela, Hans Lestikow, Robert Michel, Paul Shuitema, Kurt Schwitters, Georg Trump, Jan Tschichold, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, and Piet Zwart.

The following vintage essays are reprinted in German:

  • Kurt Schwitters: Thesen Uber Typographie
  • Max Burchartz: Gestaltung Der Reklame
  • Iwan Tschichold: Elementare Typographie
  • Max Burchartz: Neuzeitliche Werbung
  • Willi Baumeister: Neue Typographie
  • Walter Dexel: Was Ist Neue Typographie?
  • Kurt Schwitters: Gestaltende Typographie
  • Kurt Schwitters: Moderne Werbung
  • Jan Tschichold: Was Ist Und Was Will Die Neue Typografie?

In 1990 the Landesmuseum Wiesbaden organized a series of exhibitions subtitled "Typographie kann unter umstanden kunst sein [Typography can also be Art]. These traveling exhibitions generated four catalogs, presenting a vast archive of avant-garde typographic design and advertising work from the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The four volumes of the "Typography . . . Art" series paid lavish tribute to the work of the Circle of New Advertising Designers [Ring Neue Werbegestalter] and included introductory essays by experts Kees Broos, Herbert Spencer and Ernst Schwitters. All in German no less. The fourth catalog RING "NEUE WERBEGESTALTER" 1928 - 1933 EIN UBERBLICK [Circle of New Advertising Designers 1928 1931: An Overview] is the scarcest title in the series.

The Circle of New Advertising Designers (ring neue werbegestalter) was a group who coalesced after the first statements on the new typography by Tschchold and Moholy-Nagy, and their purpose was the promotion of a common vision of the avant-garde. Ring neue werbegestalter intentionally echoed the name of The Ring, a group of Berlin-based architects which had been formed a few years earlier.

The idea came from Kurt Schwitters and was trumpeted in a 1928 issue of Das Kunstblatt: " A group of nine artists active as advertising designers has formed under the presidency of Kurt Schwitters. Baumeister, Burchatz, Dexel, Domela, Michel, Schwitters,Trump, Tschichold and Vordemberge-Gildewart belong to the association."

Before forming The Ring, Schwitters had broadened his approach to visual art to include graphic design, even going through the avant-garde right of passage of designing a sans-serif typeface.

The affiliation of The Ring appears to have been somewhat loose, its activities consisting primarily of exhibitions, either promoting the group on its own or contributing to larger events, such as the Werkbund's Film und Foto in 1929.

In Heinz and Bodo Rausch's Gefesselter Blick (1930), The Ring's point of view was defined by Paul Shuitema , acknowledging that modern design involved the separation of hand and machine which previous generations had so strongly fought against: "the designer is not a draughtsman, but rather an organizer of optical and technical factors. His work should not be limited to making notes, placing in groups and organizing things technically."

Tschichold was more succinct: " I attempt to reach the maximum of purpose in my publicity works and to connect the single constructive elements harmoniously -- to design."