January 10 to February 28, 1947
Ladislav Sutnar and the A-D Gallery
Ladislav Sutnar and the A-D Gallery: DESIGN EXHIBITION [from January10 to February 28, 1947]. New York: The Composing Room/A-D Gallery, 1947. First edition. 12mo. Stapled printed French folded wrappers. 16 pp. Elaborate graphic design throughout by Ladislav Sutnar. Wrappers uniformly sunned. Bottom edge nicked throughout. A very good or better copy. Uncommon.
5.5 x 8.25 saddle-stitched exhibition catalogue with 16 pages printed in two colors throughout reproducing examples of Sutnar's design work from 1929 to 1946. Included are Sutnar's work in the fields of books, magazines, industrial and exhibition design. A very important document beautifully designed and produced.
Mildred Constantine wrote about Sutnar in 1961: " There is a force and meaningful consistency in Sutnar's entire body of work, which permits him to express himself with a rich diversity in exhibition design and the broad variations of graphic design. Sutnar has the assured stature of th integrated designer."
Ladislav Sutnar (1897 - 1976) was one of the most ardent advocates of pure visual education in his designs and writings. Sutnar left Czechoslovakia after the Nazi occupation to design the Czechoslovak Pavilion in the World's Fair in New York in 1939 . He never returned to his homeland. After one desperate year of looking for a job in New York,in 1941 Ladislav Sutnar met Knud Lönberg-Holm,the Danish-born architect who was director of Research at Sweet's Catalog Service. Holm hired Sutnar as art director. Sweet's Catalog Service was the producer of trade, construction,and hardware catalogs that were distributed to businesses and architects throughout the United States. Sutnar and Holm radically transformed the organization and presentation of technical and commercial information. Sutnar said "If a graphic design is to elicit greater intensity of perception and comprehension of contents,the designer should be aware of the following principles: 1) optical interest,which arouses attention and forces the eye to action; 2) visual simplicity of image and structure allowing quick reading and comprehension of the contents; and 3) visual continuity, which allows the clear understanding of the sequence of elements."
Erin Malone writes: In 1936, Dr. Robert Leslie, assisted by Hortense Mendel, began showing the work of emigre and young artists in an empty room in The Composing Room offices. Called the A-D Gallery, it was the first place in New York City dedicated to exhibiting the graphic and typographic arts.
The first exhibit as described by Percy Seitlin: "A young man by the name of Herbert Matter had just arrived in this country from Switzerland with a bagful of ski posters and photgraphs of snow covered mountains. Also came camera portraits and various specimens of his typographic work. We decided to let him hang some of his things on the walls and gave him a party... the result was a crowd of almost bargain-basement dimensions, and thirsty too. Everyone was excited by the audacity and skill of Matter's work."
The A-D gallery was one of the only places in New York city for young artists to come into contact with the work of european emigres and soon became a social meeting place for designers to meet each other, as well as prospective clients and employers. Dr. Leslie knew many people in New York and went out of his way to introduce people to each other. The gallery and the magazine became mirrors of each other. Often a feature in the magazine would become a show and vice-versa.
A sample spread from this volume can be viewed here.
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