Decades of Design – Bauhaus connections

02 August 2016

slutzkyThis September Roseberys London opens its doors for Decades of Design a specialist auction featuring ceramics & glass, furniture, pictures and posters, jewellery, fashion and textiles from 1890 onwards; including Decorative Arts & Modern Design artists and designers.

The auction features three key single owner collections:

Naum Slutzky – Bauhaus industrial jewellery designer; Kiev (1894 – 1965)

Zero aka Hans Schleger – Graphic Designer and creator of the London Underground symbol; Germany (1898 – 1975)

Hans Schmoller – Typographer, famed for his Penguin book cover designs; Berlin (1916 – 1985

The three collections are all closely linked with the Bauhaus School of design and its concepts of aesthetics and production.

Hans Schmoller and Hans Schleger were two German designers who became permanently absorbed into the English arts establishment and fundamentally affected the development of British graphics in postwar years.

Naum Slutzky – An important collection of 25 pieces of jewellery and cutlery, the lots offered include prototypes and originals from the artists’ studio of rings, pendants and silver cutlery.

Russian born Slutzky, was a Bauhaus school industrial designer, whose creations reflected the age of machine technology; precious metals were rejected as inflation prices in Germany soared at the time, forcing goldsmiths to turn to base metals instead. The resounding feature of Bauhaus design was process and function rather than the value of the materials. The Bauhaus school of design developed in Germany just after the First World War, it formed during a period of political turbulence and was to have a profound influence on 20th century industrial design.

Slutzky studied engineering and fine art in Vienna, the two disciplines are obvious to see in his work – He started working as a goldsmith at the Wiener Werkstatte. In 1922 he was asked to lead the workshop for metalwork at the Bauhaus School, He became master goldsmith in 1922. He carried on to have a rich and successful career that saw him move to England (in exile) and teach in many prestigious institutes. He was distinguished as being one of the most original jewellers to be associated with the Bauhaus. His work is characterised by simple geometric elegance, where designs are stripped to the bare minimum; engineering plays a subtle but vital role, take the rare and important silver Modernist hinged bangle, c.1930s, the wide egg shaped bangle with pierced circles, and two pin clasps, where a hidden mechanism releases or holds the cuff in place.

A silver Modernist design ring, 1965, the shank fitted with three irregular oblong silver bars, approx size N/O,  with Slutzky’s stamp to reverse, together with a copper and silvered metal maquette of a similar design ring. An identical ring is held at the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum) location Jewellery, room 91, case 43, shelf B, box 10.

Two rings one the prototype for a design and the second the finished article – show not only the workings and originality that often wouldn’t been seen but, also shows how closely his original ideas became final pieces.

Further examples of Slutzky work including jewellery and a teapot are held in the Victoria & Albert collections, all were acquired from Gesche Ochs; who became an important patron to his work in the 1920s.

The collection is a beautiful insight into the art movement that revolutionised 20th century design.

 

Zero or Hans Schleger, was a breakthrough graphic designer who pioneered the concept of corporate identity. His nom-de-plume suggested his devotion to the Bauhaus principle of reduction, designs of simple unadorned essentials that strips a company down to its visual core identity.

Born in Germany in 1898, his career started as a film set designer in Berlin. He moved to New York in 1924 to set up his own studio, and it was here that he started to sign his work ‘Zero’.

After five years in New York he returned to Berlin to work for advertising agency W S Crawford, in 1932 he moved to England to continue his design career, where commissions for his sharp witted clean edged imagery soon became known internationally.

His career spanned over five decades and he was responsible for some of the most iconic imagery and logos still used today, most notably the British national identity for the London Underground, Penguin books logo and the development of the John Lewis Department store logo.

Roseberys London are thrilled to offer a collection of multiple Posters from a single owner collection.

The collection includes work for London Transport, HM Government: War Office, Martini and a series of American Adverts ranging from 1924 – 29.

 

Our final collection and Bauhaus connection is typographer Hans Schmoller

“Hans Schmoller was one of the last species of typographers with a profound background of the history of types and with an eye nobody could fool.” (Hermann Zapf)

Schmoller was born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1916, His father was an eminent paediatrician and pioneer of infant welfare clinics; His mother had a small business based on folded-paper lampshades and window displays. In 1933 he hoped he may be able to go to University to read Art History. However under the Nazi regime of (1933 – 1945) University was banned for all Jews.

In October 1933 he began a four-year apprenticeship as compositor in the Jewish book-printing firm of Siegfried Scholem. Between 1937 – 1938 he studied in London at the Monotype Technical School.

In 1949 he replaced Jan Tschichold as Typographer at Penguin Books. From 1956 he was Head of Production, then Director retiring at 60.

In 1982 he was a member of the panel for The International Book Design Exhibition, Leipzig. Died London 25 September 1985, a week after the opening of the ‘Fifty Penguin Years’ exhibition in London; a celebration of the achievements of both Sir Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books, and Hans Schmoller.

Hi passion for his worked was shared by his wife, Tanya (also an employee at Penguin) whom over the years accumulated a vast collection of decorated papers, which eventually was donated to Manchester Metropolitan University.

Within the collection on offer are correspondence between Schmoller and Lane in the early days of Penguin there are also some other very rare books, including a group of Morija press items. A Meynell title limited to 10 copies, a volume from Elliot Verney’s prison camp library at Eichstatt, and two magnificent proofs of Lynton Lamb illustrations.

 

The full catalogue of lots will be available in print and online on the 18 August.

 

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For further information please contact Charlotte Meddings charlottemeddings@roseberys.co.uk  +44 (0) 20 8761 2522

Contact one of our department specialists for a complimentary valuation:

Bill Forrest billforrest@roseberys.co.uk

Richard Gibbon richardgibbon@roseberys.co.uk    +44 (0) 20 8761 2522

 

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