BOOK BINDINGS AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN VASSOS
Contempo! Phobia! Ultimo!
These are just three of nine books designed and illustrated by John Vassos between 1927 and 1935, all part of the Wolfsonian-FIU library’s collection of rare artist monographs.
Born in Greece in 1898, Vassos fought in the First World War before emigrating to American in 1919. In the United States, Vassos quickly established a reputation for himself as a talented stage and set designer and a window display and advertising artist. In the late 1920s, Vassos began to publish a number of books that have since become famous for their Art Deco bindings and modernist illustrations.
Stephanie Valere, an FIU student in Professor Heller-Greenman’s American Art class, made a presentation this past Friday that honed in on Vassos’ illustrations in Phobia.
Published in 1931, this work showcased the artist’s futuristic interpretations of such psychological disorders as claustrophobia, acrophobia, mechanophobia, and other maladies associated with the pressures of modern living.