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Ladislav Sutnar: The Information Graphics of a Master Designer — Gallery Talk & Reception July 30 in New York City

Nicholas D. Lowry, President of Swann Galleries and a leading expert on Sutnar, will present a talk on the designer’s works on paper followed by a cocktail reception.

May 27, 2015

A special evening for fans of Ladislav Sutnar and influential modern graphic design is available on our Visual Design in Action facsimile edition Kickstarter, now going into its final week. You and a guest can attend a cocktail reception and gallery talk on Sutnar’s works on paper by Nicholas D. Lowry, President of Swann Galleries and Director of the auction house’s Vintage Posters department. The event will be held at Swann Galleries (104 East 25th Street, NY, NY) on Thursday, July 30, 2015, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Also on hand to answer questions will be Steven Heller, one of the editors of the Visual Design in Action facsimile.

Ladislav Sutnar, Vystava Moderniho Obchodu [Exhibition of Modern Commerce], poster, 1929

Ladislav Sutnar, Transport: Next Half Century, 1950.

Lowry is one of the world's leading experts on Ladislav Sutnar and has an extensive collection of Sutnar’s graphic design works, including posters, book covers, catalogues, and prints from the 1920s in Czech Republic to the 1950s in the United States. A selection of these works will be on display for viewing.

George Bernard Shaw, Drobnosti [Press Cuttings], with cover designed by Ladislav Sutnar, 1933.

Ladislav Sutnar, Essential Product Information, flyer, 1942.

From Swann Galleries’ biography of Ladislav Sutnar:

Ladislav Sutnar was both a professor and practitioner of design. He was a pioneer in the fields of informational graphics and corporate identity. He taught at Prague’s State School of Graphic Art and was the official designer of the Czechoslovak Government’s exhibitions in foreign countries (winning several awards for his work in this field). In 1929, he was hired as the Art Director for the Druzstevni Prace [Cooperative Works] publishing house, for whom he created a unified, unique and original graphic identity. This “unity” he created for Druzstevni Prace was the first appearance of a concept that Sutnar would later develop into creating corporate identity through visual recognition.

In 1939, Sutnar came to New York to help set up the Czech Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. With the outbreak of war in Europe, Sutnar chose to stay in The U. S. By the time he moved to America, at the age of 42, he had already revolutionized book design in his home country of Czechoslovakia. From 1941 to 1960 he worked with Sweet’s Catalog Service, a company that produced complex technical catalogues for architects, engineers and builders. This two decade-long association resulted in the pioneering redesign of the company’s catalogues.

Sutnar’s uncluttered and organized vision and his Functionalist background brought order, clarity, and ease of comprehension to a field muddy with technical information. Perhaps his best known, but least acknowledged, contribution is the use of parentheses for telephone area codes, now considered a milestone in information graphics. His posters were largely a fusion of Bauhaus ideas, typography, Constructivism, and his own work with photomontage and design.

Ladislav Sutnar, III Delnicka Olympiada [Third Workers Olympiad], poster, 1934.

Ladislav Sutnar, from Strip Street, one of 12 plates, 1963.

Images courtesy of Swann Galleries, New York.

For further information, visit the Ladislav Sutnar: Visual Design in Action facsimile edition Kickstarter through June 3, 2015, or email info@designersandbooks.com.

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