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Object Timeline

-0001

1939

  • Work on this object began.

2004

  • We acquired this object.

2011

2019

  • You found it!

Blotter, Bruynzeel's éépaneel's deur, februari 1939, 1939

This is a Blotter. It is dated 1939 and we acquired it in 2004. Its medium is offset lithograph on white wove paper, mounted on blue blotting paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Piet Zwart is considered one of the leading figures in modernist graphic design. He became an instructor at the Bauhaus in 1931 and applied the constructivist aesthetic to his graphic commissions throughout the 1930s. He is particularly noted for his integration of photography and text, an avant-garde application of disparate technologies that is now considered one of the major contributions of the Bauhaus to graphic design. Early in his career, around 1911, Zwart designed furniture and interior décor influenced by Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Carel Adolph Lion Cachet, the Wiener Werkstätte and De Stijl.
This blotter calendar is one of four being considered for acquisition. They are in remarkably fine condition and relate to our collection of calendars as well as to our business graphics collection. The blotters were produced for the firm of Bruynzeel, a manufacturer of prefabricated doors and windows. It is significant that a commercial industry dedicated to building fabrication would have been responsive to Zwart’s advanced constructivist compositions. Zwart designed calendars for the firm throughout the 1930s. Zwart’s graphic use of lowercase, sans serif letters contributes to the stark, modernist look. The juxtaposition of photographic imagery, rendered in unnatural colors, makes these objects even more remarkable.
Among the examples of modernist graphic design in the museum’s collection are several groups of objects that relate indirectly to these examples by Zwart. The museum has two leaves from a 1942 calendar, executed for the Isaac Goldmann Company, Printers, in New York: one with an illustration by László Moholy Nagy and, the other, a surrealist-influenced composition by George Giusti. In addition, there is a collection of graphic design programs, business cards, and promotional materials from the Viennese firm of Jahoda & Siegel from the 1930s. Although these items are significant in exploring how the graphic vocabulary of the Bauhaus was adapted by progressive graphic designers, neither of the principals of the Viennese firm attended or taught at the Bauhaus.
Due to his direct participation in one of the most important 20th-century modernist collaboratives, the museum has earmarked Zwart as one of the key designers whose graphic work should be represented in the collection. These four blotter calendars would be the first examples of Zwart’s graphic design to enter the collection and would join objects that document Zwart’s excursions into industrial design, which include a cup and saucer and a covered glass bowl and tray. Other Dutch artists represented in the museum’s collection are Henk Bremmer, R. N. Roland Holst, Theo van Hoytema, Bart van der Leck, Jan Toorop, and Hendrikus Wijdeveld.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

Overall: 9.4 x 22.1 cm (3 11/16 x 8 11/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Blotter, Bruynzeel's éépaneel's deur, februari 1939, 1939; offset lithograph on white wove paper, mounted on blue blotting paper; Overall: 9.4 x 22.1 cm (3 11/16 x 8 11/16 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 2004-1-5

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18699389/ |title=Blotter, Bruynzeel's éépaneel's deur, februari 1939, 1939 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>