88 x 51 x 24 cm
Cherry tree wood and ebony
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Joella Bayer
The Austrian photographer, painter, graphic designer, and typographer Herbert Bayer (born 1900 in Haag am Hausruck, Austria, died 1985 in Montecito, USA) was a man of contradictions. The same is true for his body of work, which incorporates almost all forms of expression in visual art and its related areas: drawing, painting, graphic art, tapestry, typography, graphic design, experimental and documentary photography, sculpture, architecture, and landscape design. During the Nazi regime, he was one of the most recognized graphic designers in Berlin, despite his having worked at the Bauhaus, which in 1933 had been closed due to pressure from the Nazis. He continued to be successful after his immigration to the US in 1938. During his time at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau as the director of the advertising workshop from 1925 to 1928, Bayer developed a unicase font in which he fused the upper and lower case. Bayer called the resulting sans serif typeface “Universal.” The Bauhaus Archive has been using a font called “bayer next” in reference to the famous typographer since 2014.
Prior to his immigration to the US in 1938, Bayer worked for many Nazi customers, despite the fact that his works had been presented in the exhibition “Entartete Kunst,” which the Nazis organized in 1937. In the US, he worked mainly as a painter, graphic designer, and exhibition designer for many companies and institutions. Bayer is well known in Denver for his “Articulated Wall” – a monumental, rhythmical, canary yellow sculpture. This Constructivist composition is supported in its center by a gigantic steel mast, onto which horizontal, concrete rods are stacked in a twisting pattern.
Herbert Bayer took part in the documenta III in Kassel in 1964, and he designed the exhibition “50 Jahre Bauhaus" in Stuttgart in 1988. His surrealist self-portrait from 1932 enjoys almost cult status. It shows a young man, his eyes open wide in horror as he realizes that he can peel off slices of his armpit. Bayer’s photographs, his associative pictorial language, his collage technique, and his airbrush illustrations have set high aesthetic standards in art. In the course of his almost 60-year career, Bayer never stopped following the key guidelines of the Bauhaus teachings, according to which a modern designer should master every aspect of visual arts and design.
Dominique von Burg