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Herbert Bayer, Graphic Designer: From the Bauhaus to Berlin, 1921–1938

Herbert Bayer, Graphic Designer: From the Bauhaus to Berlin, 1921–1938

Herbert Bayer, Graphic Designer: From the Bauhaus to Berlin, 1921–1938

By Patrick Rössler

“Shining a new light on the life and work of Herbert Bayer, this insightful book makes a vital contribution to our understanding of modernism and the 20th century events that shaped its practitioners, and how this extraordinary designer navigated those complex times.” ―Robin Schuldenfrei, Reader in 20th Century Modernism, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK

“Extensively researched, Rössler's lively text analyzes Bayer's artistic, personal, and political journey from the Bauhaus to the US and hits issues head on-addressing difficult questions regarding history, emigration, politics, and biography” ―Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator Emerita, Denver Art Museum, and Professor Emerita, University of Denver, USA

“Gorgeously illustrated and rigorously researched, this book lays bare the crucial missing decade in the life and work of this innovative, influential, and often misunderstood artist. Patrick Rössler's engaging and unflinching account is a must read for anyone interested in design history and the contradictions of creative life in Nazi Berlin.” ―Elizabeth Otto, Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art History, the University at Buffalo (SUNY), USA

Herbert Bayer was one of the most extraordinary artists associated with the Bauhaus school. A true multimedia artist, he united graphic design, art, and architecture in a unique style that came to represent the bold aesthetic approach of the movement. A teacher with the school until 1928, Bayer went on to become a highly successful graphic designer in Germany, and later one of the most prominent figures in the 20th-century art scene of the United States.

This broad biographical account, which presents previously unseen archival photographs and episodes from the life of Bayer and other influential Bauhaus artists such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy, follows Bayer through the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany and finally to his exile in the United States. Specifically, Patrick Rössler reveals for the first time Bayer's unique experience of 1930s Germany, where, with his commercial and artistic life shattered by terror and censorship, he distracted himself with leading a hedonistic life. Shining a light on Bayer's time in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, and his route out of the Nazi state, Rössler provides rich new insights into how Bauhaus artists navigated a protracted period of social upheaval and dictatorship, where commercial success was fraught with a deep hostility towards the regime and the temptations of emigration.

Revealing the tensions of an avant-garde artist struggling to practice during a period of repression, Herbert Bayer, Graphic Designer speaks to both the memory of those who left Nazi Germany, but also the perseverance of artists and intellectuals throughout history who have worked under authoritarian regimes. Drawing on never before interpreted documents, letters and archival material, Rössler tells Bayer's compelling story – documenting the life of a unique artist and offering a valuable contribution to research in émigré experiences. 

336 pages; 32 color, 100 black-and-white images
Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2024
6.45 x 1 x 9.5 inches
ISBN 9781350229679
Graphic Design, Biography

$115.00 $115.00