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book cover, 1k Lucian Bernhard - Werbung und Design im Aufbruch des 20. Jahrhunderts, Plakate, Gebrauchsgrafik, Verpackungsdesign, Buchgestaltung, Schriftentwuerfe; concept by Hubert Riedel, texts by Hubert Riedel, Rene Grohnert, Karl Bernhard; Institut fuer Auslandbeziehungen e.V. (1999), Linienstrasse 155, D-10115 Berlin, fax +49-30-282 3331; 176 pages, about 250 color reproductions, 24 x 31 cm, softcover; in german; 38 DEM (about 20 US$)

Published on the occasion of an international travelling exhibition, with a biography, bibliography, description of the exhibits and much more. This thorough book will become the standard work on the eminent german graphic designer from the beginning of the 20th century.

Many consider Lucian Bernhard to be the most important german graphic designer of the first part of this century, ranking him even higher than the better known Ludwig Hohlwein. He certainly had a more spectacular life than Hohlwein, and many details of it come to surface and are put into perspective in this book.

Born near Stuttgart as Emil Kahn, he run away from home at the age of 18 and arrived in Berlin as Lucian Bernhard in 1901. The well known artist Edmund Edel took him under his wings and brought him into contact with the printing company and poster publisher Hollerbaum & Schmidt. Right from his first poster, for a match company, his career was a phenomenal succes. By 1903, at the age of 20, he had his own studio in a prestigious location in the center of Berlin, in 1905 he was a founding member, and art director, of the Verein der Plakatfreunde, together with Dr. Hans Sachs who's private poster collection would one day be the biggest of the world. His book covers were in such demand that the publisher could calmly announce that he would charge one additional mark if the book had a Bernhard cover.

During World War 1, the german army requested his services for war loan posters, giving him enough freedom that he could continue his corporate identity work (a concept he invented) for a cigarette company. In 1922, he was appointed the first ever professor of graphic design, and in 1923 was invited for a lecture tour in the United States. He had all a graphic designer could ever dream of.

Unexpectedly, he decided to remain in New York, and his interests shifted to interior decoration, type design and finally painting. If you query the Adobe web site with the search term "Lucian Bernhard" you will still find plenty of Bernhard fonts. Needless to say, this monography is also set in Bernhard letters.

Poster, 7k 1908, One of the first so-called Sachplakat. The idea was to show the product and the name of the company, nothing less and nothing more. Poster, 7k 1908, Poster for the Association of Friends of the Poster. The lady in black is affectionately known as the "poster aunt" Poster, 4k 1915, slightly changed version of Bernhard's first poster made in 1903 for a match company Poster, 7k 1915, poster and logo for the cigarette company Manoli

Lucian Bernhard was lucky beyond his death, in 1972, in having his biography written by Hubert Riedel, who is not only a very competent poster and book designer himself, but a long time Bernhard fan, and a meticulous researcher on top of it, an ideal combination indeed. Riedel told me that when he first saw a reproduction of the Manoli poster shown above, he gave up is job of milling machine operator and decided to become a graphic designer. This book is a tribute to both subject and author.

See more Bernhard posters here

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