Posted on Leave a comment

Paul Renner (1878-1956) and ….the FUTURA typeface

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-05 om 14.15.24

If ever a typeface by Paul Renner is known to the large public it must be the Futura. A typical Art Deco type typeface which is nowadays a classic and easily can substitute the very popular Helvetica and is present aas a standard font on practically every computer. The Futura dates from 1927 when it was first launched by Paul Renner.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-05 om 14.19.17

On August 9, 1878, Paul Friedrich August Renner was born in Wernigerode which then was located in the Prussian state. His father was an evangelical theologian who is reason behind his strict Protestant upbringing. He grew up to develop a German sense of leadership, responsibility and duty. Renner received his formal education from a secondary school, Gymnasium. After nine years of learning Greek and Latin, Renner opted to study arts at several different academies. In 1926, he accepted the position of the head at the Printing Trade School in Münich. Later he established and became director of the Master School for Germany’s Printers. While studying, he grew suspicious of abstract art form and developed repulsion for some forms of modern culture including dancing, cinema and jazz.

However, Renner was equally fascinated by the functionalist strain in modernism. Therefore, it would not seem wrong to perceive Renner’s work as a bridge between nineteenth and twentieth century tradition. One example can be his successful attempt at merging two fundamentally different typefaces together such as Roman typeface and Gothic. Moreover, he was a significant member of German Work Federation. He lent his expertise in developing a new set of guidelines for good book design. He was closely associated with another noted typographer Jan Tschichold. They both became part of the ongoing heated ideological and artistic debates. Renner took a stand against Nazi movement and made his position very clear and public through his scandalous booklet, titled Kulturbolschewismus(Cultural Bolshevism). It was published in 1932 and overtly condemned Nazi’s cultural policy.

In 1933, when Nazi rose to power they dismissed Renner from his post at the school and labeled him an intellectual subversive, a ‘Cultural Bolshevist’. He went into a period of internal exile after his arrest. Renner aspired to communicate his opinion of culture and tried to influence it through his writing, teaching and designing. He utilized his intellect and aesthetic skills to alter the fundamental landscape of material and spiritual form of life. As to communicate his view of high cultural standards, he invested his creative talent in applied arts designing books and typefaces. Furthermore, being a voracious reader, Renner’s ideals were influenced by prominent scholarly figures, such as Nietzsche, Goethe, Kant and Schiller. He began writing from 1908 onwards and prolifically produced work on design and typography.

Renner’s notable works include Die Kunst der Typographie (The Art of Typography) and Typografie als Kunst (Typography as Art). In these works he set the guideline for sophisticated book designs. Additionally, he played a significant role in inventing the popular Futura. The modern typographers even in the present time used this geometric sans-serif font frequently. Another one of his creations, Architype Renner is evolved from his early experimental exploration of geometric letterforms. His Steile Futura typeface was later transformed into Tasse which came out posthumously. Paul Renner’s valuable contribution to graphic design and typography includes works, such as Das moderne Buch, Vom Geheimnis der Darstellung, Ordnung und Harmonie der Farben and typefaces Renner Antiqua and Ballade.

www.ftn-books.com has a great book on Renner available

renner

Posted on Leave a comment

where is the velum by Keith Haring?

 

schermafbeelding-2017-03-06-om-16-24-06

Keith Haring had one of his first European exhibitions within the Stedelijk Museum and for this occasion he made a very large ceiling piece/ the VELUM ( 1986), which was there during the exhibitions and for some time after, but….. since the exhibition i have never seen it again! Of course it is possible i have missed it, because i dit not visit the Stedelijk Museum each day  i went to Amsterdam, but it is strange that in 30 years i never have seen it again. It was an extremely large piece by Haring and should be one of the key objects within any collection, because it represents everything the art of Keith Haring has become famous for.  I checked the site of the Stedelijk Museum , but could not find it in the collection. Any readers who can help?

schermafbeelding-2017-03-06-om-16-21-24

The site Widewalls has an excellent description why Keith Haring is important and was one of the key figures in the Grafiti art movement.

The 1990s were a time of change for many social and cultural aspects on a global scale. Art particularly saw many artists bring tremendous change in this period, and Keith Haring was one of them. Drawing and painting murals in public locations, Haring was often philosophical about his approach to creating artwork, and was amazed and inspired by the interaction and feedback he would get from people around him. Although he was young, he had developed a very specific concept of what art should represent, and the ideology carried over through his work would leave an everlasting effect on the street culture in New York City, as well as art as a whole. Along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Futura 2000 and Richard Hambleton, among others, he was part of the young, up-and-coming group of the American artists who challenged art’s old perceptions.

Fortunately the publications on Haring at www.ftn-books.com did not disappear ( but they can get sold out).