Graphic Art Selling Revolution, Jewelry, and War

Although the Wolfsonian librarians have been extraordinarily busy this summer processing, accessioning, and cataloging a flood of new acquisitions and gifts, this last month we had only a small trickle of visitors. The first group included Charlotte Camille, Ludovic Houplain, and Maxime Vandenabeele, members of the H5 Group based in Paris who will be working with us on a project for the next Art Basel Miami Beach event in December. Dr. Harsanyi provided our guests with a personalize tour of the library installation he curated on early Soviet Constructivist art.

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As the group was particularly interested in graphic art, typography, and logo designs, we brought them into the main reading room to peruse a number of works pulled from our rare book and special collections holdings.

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The materials ranged from a 1908 deluxe reprinting of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra [Thus spake Zarathustra] designed by Henry C. Van de Velde (1863–1957) with typeface designed by Georges Lemmen (1865–1957);

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

… type specimen booklets and broadsides, and guides and handbooks on the theory and practice of layout design;

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Steve Heller

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

…an ABC gem box with alphabetical designs by Kurt Hans Volk (1883–1962); typeface and photographs of exhibitions designed by Bauhaus artist, Herbert Bayer (1900–1985);

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

…unusual and celebrated books designed by Italian Futurists, Fortunato Depero (1892–1960), Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876–1944), Tullio Crali (1910–2000), and Raoul Cenisi (1912–1991);

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

 …brochures and plans for pictogram-like game pieces created by Ladislav Sutnar (1897–1976);

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Rad Sutnar

Later in the month, Dr. Harsanyi and I hosted eighteen visitors from Richline Group, a jewelry manufacturer dedicated to the establishment of an internationally recognized, vertically-integrated corporate branding, production, marketing, and distribution strategy throughout the jewelry supply chain.

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While The Wolfsonian’s library does not specialize in period jewelry, we did have a plethora of reference books on the subject, numerous rare catalogs highlighting the work of European and American gold and silversmiths, as well as a portfolio of plates advertising Art Deco jewelry.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

The library also holds the Victory Gold Levi Collection, which, in addition to ephemeral paper and print materials documenting the U.S. propaganda campaign, also includes a number of “V for Victory” pins designed to be worn by patriotic women on the home front.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Victory Gold Levi Collection

Not unlike our earlier French visitors, others in this group were as interested in the logos, branding, photography, and display strategies used in various advertising industry publications also laid out on the tables for them to peruse.

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Finally, Wolfsonian director Tim Rodgers stopped by on a Saturday with Eric and Svetlana Silverman, their daughter, and their guest, Tamao Watanabe, the executive officer and director of Kyowa Kirin.

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The Silvermans were the lenders to Constructing Revolution, Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s Soviet propaganda poster exhibition now on display in our galleries.

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Our own resident expert on the Soviet Union, Dr. Nicolae Harsanyi, curated a library installation, Red and Black: Revolution in Soviet Propaganda Graphics. This installation complements Constructing Revolution by exploring how books, periodicals, and portfolio plates also experimented with Constructivist imagery and Soviet symbols to promote the Socialist revolution.

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As their guest was also interested in getting a sense of our Japanese holdings, I pulled out some highlights, including: vibrant color chromolithographic proofs for greeting cards published in the wake of the Russo-Japanese War;

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

…historical bindings from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection;

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

… color prints depicting the Great Japan Earthquake of 1923;

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

… an accordion-style binding with pochoir (stencil work) modernist designs for perfume and cosmetics packaging (alas, not yet digitized); and Second World War-era Japanese propaganda prints designed to be fashioned into patriotic fans.

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The Wolfsonian–FIU, Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

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We always feel privileged to be able to share our holdings with VIPs and groups visiting the museum, and to be able to provide our online fans with a digital sampling of the same.

~ by "The Chief" on June 27, 2018.

One Response to “Graphic Art Selling Revolution, Jewelry, and War”

  1. Beautiful!

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