back to index

book (design) story #380

paul hilber, sigfried giedion, konrad farner:
these, antithese, synthese

kunstmuseum, luzern, 1935
printer: c. j. bucher, luzern
size: 20 x 14 cm
designer: jan tschichold

Book image

this is a hard to find catalogue of an art exhibition with an unusual title – thesis, antithesis, synthesis. the marxist terminology was no coincidence: this 1935 exhibition was initiated by swiss painter hans erni (*1909), who was active in the international modernist art scene but also close to the communist movement at the time.

Book image

hans erni was supported by konrad farner (1903-1974), a prominent swiss marxist philosopher and art critic who contributed the catalogue's extensive bibliography.

Book image

the catalogue design by jan tschichold (1902-1974) is striking – its asymmetrically composed cover with vertical name list seems to have influenced several later art catalogues, especially those by max bill and richard paul lohse for the allianz movement of swiss abstract artists, see stories 202, 203, 136. tschichold referred to and reproduced this cover design in several of his articles. note the elegant proportions of the print space and margins on the inner pages – tschichold addressed this issue in several of his later publications.

Book image.

some of the all-lowercase sansserif (berthold grotesk?) texts are set in a really tiny size – but great looking and actually readable! the foreword by museum curator paul hilber (1890-1949) is followed by text contributions by sigfried giedion, jean hélion, wassily kandinsky and fernand léger, among others. below a sculpture by hans arp, opposite a modernist ad.

Book image

book (design) stories home
index of published book (design) stories