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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

German Typewriter Art

Artwork by Ernst Deutsch
n December 1911, Typewriter Topics' European director, London-based multilingual Luxembourger Jacques Gustave Hemes, was inspired to write a feature article for  Topics on the subject of typewriter advertising in Germany. Hemes made particular reference to colourful posters ("dullness being entirely absent"), saying they were "works of art and of good taste".
How right he was. The typewriter posters were high points in what came to be known as the "golden age of poster art" in Germany, evoking names such as Bernhard, Deutsch-Dryden and Erdt.
The main illustration for Hemes' report in Topics, above, marked the first appearance outside Germany of Austrian-born Ernst Deutsch's famous Mercedes typewriter poster, one of the most popular examples of typewriter-related artwork ever created. (Hemes' full report can be seen at the bottom of this post, and includes a selection of advertising artwork for Swift, Torpedo and Continental typewriters.)
Ernst Deutsch
The beautiful, seemingly blushing red-dressed lady was used by Deutsch (later Ernst Dryden) to help Mercedes promote its new standard model, the No 3, launched in 1911:
Deutsch was particularly fond of the red-dressed lady in shiny black shoes during this period, also using her for posters to promote a number of other events and products. He even doubled her up (and used the same typewriter, table and chair) for the cover of the sheet music for Mercedes Girl (Mercedes Mädel), a waltz by Francesco Fanciulli. 
Deutsch was born in Vienna on August 3, 1887. A commercial artist and graphic designer in Berlin in the years immediately before World War I, he was "one of the protagonists of the new style in poster art, with Julius Klinger and Lucian Bernhard". In 1916 he changed his name to Dryden (possibly in reverence of American illustrator Helen Dryden), returned to Vienna, then moved to Paris. The change in his signature on his artwork is illustrated here:
Deutsch (left) Dryden (right)
In 1929 Deutsch-Dryden settled in New York and worked for Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Marshall Field's, designing for the emerging market of mass clothing. In 1933 he became a costume designer in Hollywood, working for Universal, Columbia and Selznick. Deutsch-Dryden died of a heart attack in his villa in Hollywood on March 17, 1938, five days after Hitler invaded Austria.
Other notable works by Deutsch-Dryden included:
Deutsch-Dryden was not the first of the great Austro-German poster artists of the period to work for Mercedes. That honour was claimed in 1910 by Hans Lindenstaedt (1874-1928) with this poster, illustrating the demountability of the Model 2:
As with Deutsch, Lindenstaedt worked alongside Hans Rudi Erdt (March 31, 1883-May 24, 1918), contributing to the Sachplakat* movement started by Lucian Bernhard at the prestigious Hollerbaum und Schmidt art printing company, along with Edmund Edel, Julius Klinger, Julius Gipkens, Paul Scheurich and Karl Schulpig. Erdt is recognised for his innovative use of typography in posters. (The drop-letter "i" at the top of this post is taken from Deutsch-Dryden's work on a Bugatti poster.)
*Object poster; also Plakatstil = "poster style"; plakat = poster. Plakatstil used reductive imagery and flat colours; Sachplakat restricted the image to simply the object being advertised and the brand name. 
Lucian Bernhard
Among typewriter poster artists, Lucian Bernhard (March 15, 1883-May 29, 1972) is best known for his highly distinctive work for the Adler Model 7. His poster typography is said to have inspired Hermann (aka Heinz) Hoffmann to create the Block Berthold (aka Bloc) typeface in 1908:
Hoffmann's Bloc font
Bernhard was a German graphic designer, type designer, professor, interior designer and artist. He was born in Stuttgart on March 15, 1883, as Emil Kahn, but changed his name in 1905. Though he studied briefly at the Akademie in Munich, he was largely self-taught. He moved to Berlin in 1901, where he worked as a poster designer and art director for magazines. From 1920 he was a professor at the Akademie der Künste until 1923, when he emigrated to New York City. In 1928 he opened the Contempora Studio with Rockwell Kent, Paul Poiret, Bruno Paul and Erich Mendelsohn, working as a graphic artist and interior designer. After 1930 he worked primarily as a painter and sculptor until his death on May 29, 1972.
Perhaps my own favourite Mercedes typewriter poster is this one:
It is the work of August Hajduk (born July 1, 1880, Bad Gleichenberg, Styria; died 1918?), an Austria-Hungarian graphic artist, portraitist, illustrator and typographer. Hajduk first studied at the Graz Zeichenakademie and in 1900 moved to Wilhelm von Rümann's school of sculpture in Munich. From 1907 he worked in Berlin for department store chain A. Jandorf & Co, creating the artwork for first full-page newspaper advertisements. In 1910 he designed for the Bauer Type Foundry in Frankfurt the font Haiduk-Antiqua. Hajduk was an assigned war artist in World War I and was last heard from in 1918. 
The full Typewriter Topics story by Hemes:


Richard P said...

All are great examples of commercial art!

Anonymous said...

A real treat for the eyes, thanks!

Anonymous said...

A really great article. The one with the female Pilot... I really imagine that this could be a nowadays Comic.

DanaW said...

Richard, I've not responded before but have followed with great interest. My enjoyment stems from employing a faithful Olympia Model 8 for correspondence with my daughter in Germany. I love it that she receives not soulless digital output but a piece of her father's handiwork. I'll do authentic cc's to her brother sometimes. Anyway: this is not so much to respond to the fine artwork just posted but to draw your attention to a recent article about how an Olivetti got a Japanese novelist started. Enjoy it here.
Perhaps you will even find it useful. Good luck, Dana

Robert Messenger said...

DanaW, was this comment meant for Richard Polt, Richard Milton or Richard Amery?

Spider said...

Again, nice work Robert! Thanks for compiling this piece of commercial art back grounds.

Unknown said...

Hello Robert,
Greetings from Nicolas Pierre Hemes,Jacques Gustave Hemes only son and living heir.
Living in Sarasota,Florida and US Citizen since 1960.
Please contact me at: Hemes @
Great article!
Best regards,Nicolas