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book (design) story #700

lucas lichtenhan:
konstruktivisten

kunsthalle basel, 1937
printer: benno schwabe & co, basel
size: 21 x 15 cm
photographer: eidenbenz, spreng
designer: jan tschichold

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book (design) story number 700 !!! good reason to celebrate with something special – the important and rare exhibition catalogue: "konstruktivisten"!

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this major exhibition of constructivist art was shown in basel in 1937, ...

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... at a time when just a few miles north this kind of modernist painting and scuplture was denounced as "degenerate art" by the nazi regime.

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the catalogue design is in a most elegant "new typography" style – all-lowercase sansserif throughout.

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the illustrations are printed single-sided on coated paper: here we see paintings by theo van doesburg, ...

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... el lissitzky, and sophie taeuber-arp.

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after a couple of pages left empty for "notes" the ad section starts with an ad for the studio eidenbenz, basel.

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the "konstruktivisten" catalogue – and also the famous exhibition poster – was designed by jan tschichold (1902-1974) who had lived in basel after leaving germany in 1933. no designer is credited, but tschichold is mentioned as a lender of several paintings to the exhibition.

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below the 1937 catalogue flanked by two other swiss exhibition catalogues from 1935 and 1938 (see stories 380 and 149), all designed by tschichold with similar covers: asymmetric composition, all-lowercase sansserif, artists' names listed vertically.

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