Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]: ADVERTISING ARTS. New York: Advertising and Selling Publishing Co., July 1932. Original edition. Thick letterpressed thick wrappers. 40 pp. One fold-out. Elaborate graphic design and production throughout. Cover design by Bobri. Pencil name erased from top edge of upper wrapper, otherwise a very good to nearly fine copy. Rare.
8.5 x 11.5 wire-spiral bound magazine with 40 pages of text and advertisements. "Devoted to the design of advertising, the creation of printing, and the styling of merchandise and packages." -- the Publishers.
Advertising Arts promulgated a progressive design approach (and style) unique to the United States during the early Thirties, called Streamline. Unlike the elegant austerity of the Bauhaus, where economy and simplicity were paramount, Streamline was a uniquely American futuristic mannerism based on sleek aerodynamic design born of science and technology. Planes, trains and cars were given the swooped-back appearance that both symbolized and physically accelerated speed. Consequently, type and image were designed to echo that sensibility, the result being that the airbrush became the medium of choice and all futuristic traits, be they practical or symbolic, were encouraged. The clarion call was to "Make it Modern" -- and "it " was anything that could be designed. – Steven Heller
Vladimir Bobri (Bobritsky) [Ukrainian, 1898 – 1986] was an illustrator, author, composer, educator and guitar historian. Celebrated for his prolific and innovative graphic design work in New York since the mid-1920s, Bobri was also a founder of the New York Society of The Classic Guitar in 1936, and served as editor and art director of its magazine, Guitar Review, for nearly 40 years.
Vladimir Bobritsky studied at the rigorous Kharkiv Imperial Art School. By 1915 he had begun designing sets for the Great Dramatic Theatre of Kharkiv, introducing the methods of theatrical designer Gordon Craig. Swept up in the Russian Revolution, Bobritsky fought on various sides in the civil war before managing to escape in 1917.
"After the Revolution came a long and enforced period of travel and a kind of montage of activity," wrote Bobritsky's friend and fellow artist Saul Yalkert in a biographical sketch printed in Forty Illustrators and How They Work (1946): “As a refugee he traveled on a handmade passport, eight closely printed pages in Polish, so skillfully wrought that it left no doubt as to his talent and feeling for calligraphy, since it successfully passed the expert examination of the English, French, Italian and Greek consular authorities. . . . In the mountainous, peninsular Crimea he worked as a wine presser for the Tartar fruit and wine growers. Later he came in contact with Russian, Hungarian and Spanish gypsies, studied their lore, the peculiarities of the different tribes. Having met with a band of gypsies in the Crimea he earned his way as a guitar player in their chorus.”
Bobritsky painted icons in the Greek islands, played the piano in a nickelodeon in Pera, painted signs in Istanbul, discovered an important Byzantine mural in an abandoned Turkish mosque, and earned his passage to America by designing sets and costumes for the Ballet Russes in Constantinople.
"Through all those wanderings his knapsack always had a watercolor box, a drawing pad," Yalkert wrote. "The record was kept with constant sketching of people, stories, folklore, folk music and crafts."
Bobritsky emigrated to the United States in 1921. In his artist profile in Forty Illustrators and How They Work, Ernest W. Watson reports that Bobritsky began operating his own textile printing establishment soon after arriving in New York. "In 1925 he was called in by the art director of Wanamaker's, in an experiment with modern advertising," Watson wrote. "His radically different newspaper layouts were more than the establishment could stomach and both artist and art director were dismissed. But Saks Fifth Avenue saw, admired and beckoned." Saks offered Bobri the position of art director.
"His newspaper and magazine layouts represented a fresh departure," wrote Walt Reed, scholar and historian of illustration art. "Bobri soon found himself with enough clients to embark on a freelance career, largely for advertising illustrations, and strongly influenced by his background of classical training and theatrical designing."
The first of Bobritsky's seven covers for The New Yorker magazine was dated February 6, 1926. By the 1930s, Bobritzky — or Bobri, as he signed his name with greater frequency — had become a leading illustrator in the burgeoning world of advertising. His accounts included Hanes, Koret and Avon; his work was prominent in the Annual of Advertising Art. He also gained renown as an illustrator of children's books. Bobri frequently contributed to Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, McCall's and many other magazines.
Bobri continued his study of the guitar. In 1936, he and a small group began meeting informally, forming the first major classical guitar society in New York City, the New York Society of the Classic Guitar.
"The Society's beginnings were somewhat modest, but Bobri, through a seemingly small act, would ensure the Society's preeminence for decades to come," wrote Lester S. Long in NYlon Review, the official newsletter of the New York City Classical Guitar Society: “An illustrator by trade, Bobri presented Andrés Segovia with an offer to paint his portrait. Segovia accepted. In the process the pair began a decade-long friendship and Segovia accepted the position of honorary president of the Society. Already a star in Europe and starting his career in the United States, Segovia would be no mere figurehead; instead, he would influence the artistic direction of the Society for nearly 50 years as chairman of the advisory committee.”
In 1946, the society began publishing The Guitar Review. Bobri served as editor and art director of the quarterly magazine until 1985. As well as designing a number of album covers for Segovia recordings, Bobri wrote and illustrated the influential book, The Segovia Technique (1972).
In 1972, Bobri was decorated with the Cross of Isabel la Catolica with the rank of Knight-Commander, recognizing his lifelong achievements as a designer, painter, art director, composer and writer, and his use of those talents to increase awareness of Spanish culture. The award was presented by the consul general of Spain in New York, at a ceremony attended by Spanish dignitaries including Andrés Segovia.
On November 3, 1986, Vladimir Bobri lost his life in a house fire, one that consumed the house he designed, built and lived in for nearly 50 years, together with his art, correspondence and collection of guitars. Introducing a memorial tribute in its Winter 1987 issue, The Guitar Review wrote, "In the midst of our inability to accept so great a loss, we are seduced by a possible validity in the old Viking philosophy: the belief that the helmsman and his pyre are sent resurrected into the unknown, to sail the sea of eternity. May we hope it's true that our dear friend Bobri has indeed embarked on that mythical journey, still in possession of all he took with him." [Wikipedia]
During Walter Dorwin Teague's [1883 – 1960] time, industrial designers were transforming ordinary objects by marrying materials, technique and function to produce the simplest and most efficient forms possible. The resulting products had an appearance that was a stark visual break from the past. Practitioners of this style of design, known as streamlining, art moderne or art deco, did away with most nonfunctional elements in favor of sleek designs. Their efforts transformed everything from automobiles, trains, ships and airplanes to cameras, buildings, furniture and appliances.
The trend began in the mid-1920s as an attempt by manufacturers to increase sales of consumer goods in a saturated marketplace by giving them a distinctive and modern look. At the most idealistic level, as exemplified by Teague, the new designs and the improved function they represented could be a force for good. "A better world than we have ever known can and will be built," Teague said. "Our better world may be expected to make equally available for everybody such rare things as interesting, stimulating work, emancipation from drudgery and a gracious setting for daily life."
Teague detailed his industrial and artistic philosophy in Design This Day, first published in 1940. His book appeared at about the time Hitler was invading Norway--before the United States entered World War II--and toward the end of the Great Depression. "We walk between catastrophe and apotheosis," he declared in Design This Day. "In spite of the mighty destructive powers that threaten us, our vision of a desirable life was never so clear and our means of realizing it never so ample."
Along with designers Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy, Teague helped create the industrial design profession in America, defining the visual character of the 1930s and 1940s in the process.
He started his career in graphic arts, painting signs and drawing for catalogs, and later worked in advertising. A 1926 trip to Paris introduced him to new ideas in design. He returned believing that unity of design could create a more orderly world and decided to become an industrial designer. Teague started his own industrial design firm and received his first commission in 1927, designing cameras for Eastman Kodak. The relationship lasted for 30 years.
In 1936 he placed his signature on American roadsides. Texaco replaced its regionally styled gas stations with a single design--green and white porcelain-enamel stations designed by Teague. The clean look, highlighted with red stars, was easily identified by motorists. Although some of Teague's utopian ideals and radical design concepts never materialized, he was clearly a visionary. And we are still intrigued by his desire to build a better world.
From Lester Gaba, Mannequin Artist, the New York Times,August 14, 1987: Lester Gaba [1907 – 1987] who staged elaborate fashion shows in the 40's and 50's and created the lifelike display-window mannequins known as the Gaba Girls, died of cancer of the colon Wednesday at Beekman Downtown Hospital. He was 80 years old and lived in Manhattan.
In addition to designing mannequins, Mr. Gaba for many years contributed a weekly column on window displays to Women's Wear Daily.
Mr. Gaba was born in Hannibal, Mo., and moved to Chicago in 1930 to study art. While working as a delivery boy for a department store he did freelance work designing posters for which he fashioned figures out of soap and then photographed them. Advertising agencies seized on the technique and soon Mr. Gaba's soap carvings were adorning magazine covers as well as being marketed as a children's soap.
By 1932 Mr. Gaba had moved to New York, where he created the ''Gaba Girls,'' life-sized, carved-soap mannequins modeled after well-known New York debutantess for the windows of Best & Company. He is perhaps best known for designing the lifelike mannequin known as Cynthia that was created for Saks Fifth Avenue.
From 1941 to 1967, Mr. Gaba contributed a weekly column to Women's Wear Daily titled ''Lester Gaba Looks at Display'' in which he gave his observations about the ever-changing window displays at stores in the city.
At the same time he began staging fashion shows for the Coty Awards, the March of Dimes, and fashion trade groups. The stagings were elaborate and theatrical, often involving marionettes or props such as the Hope diamond and the Star of the East.