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book (design) story #133

georg schmidt:
der berufsphotograph

gewerbemuseum basel, 1938
size: 21 x 15 cm
photographer: robert spreng
designer: jan tschichold

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the next few stories will feature swiss exhibition catalogues.
in 1938, an exhibition about professional photography was shown in basel. the cover of its catalogue is stunning: a photo-negative portrait of a woman and a title in rainbow printing technique.

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jan tschichold (1902-1974) designed the catalogue and also the similar exhibition poster – see this reproduction in the tschichold monograph edited by werner klemke (veb verlag der kunst, dresden, 1977).

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the exhibition showed works by swiss professional photographers and also examples from the classes of kunstgewerbeschule zürich teachers hans finsler and alfred willimann. art historian georg schmidt contributed an essay which relates modern photography to new typography and abstract art.

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there is a section of ads at the end. they seem to have been designed mostly by tschichold ...

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... in the style he propagated in his 1935 book "typographische gestaltung" (see story 30): a mix of contrasting typefaces including script, asymmetric arrangement, ruled boxes, etc. there is also an ad for that book in the catalogue.

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the photo-negative on the cover is a striking design using a photograph by basel-based photographer robert spreng (1890-1969), who is credited on the exhibition poster. but has anyone actually seen the positive?

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