Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)
Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)
Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)
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Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)

Cover for Harper's Bazaar

Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)
Cover for Harper's Bazaar
signed thrice and dated 'Bayer 1943' (lower left)
gouache over photomontage on paper laid down on board
Sheet size: 9 ½ x 7 in. (24.1 x 17.8 cm.)
Mount size: 12 ¾ x 9 ¼ in. (32.4 x 23.5 cm.)
Executed in 1943
Joella Bayer, California (wife of the artist).
Kent Gallery, New York (acquired from the above).
Private collection, New York (acquired from the above, 2002).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
New York, Piet Zwart, Masters of Design: Herbert Bayer, 1987, p. 3, no. 10 (illustrated).
New York, Kent Gallery, Herbert Bayer Centennial, June-July 2000.
Essen, Museum Folkwang, Bauhaus: Dessau—Chicago—New York, August-November 2000, pp. 185 and 316, no. 152 (illustrated in color, p. 184).

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Allegra Bettini
Allegra Bettini

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Lot Essay

The artistic polymath Bayer was born in 1900 in Haag, present-day Austria; first trained as an architect in Darmstadt, the artist was drawn to the Bauhaus manifesto and joined the German art school at 21 years old, a mere two years after it was founded. There, he studied mural painting with Wassily Kandinsky, while also working closely with artists such as Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy. During his time as a student, Bayer became increasingly interested in typography, and created the Universal alphabet, a simplified typeface consisting of only lowercase lettering, which would become the signature font of the Bauhaus. After an 18-month visit to Italy, during which Bayer discovered ancient civilization in Rome, Naples and Sicily, the artist returned to the Bauhaus, this time as a teacher, focusing on advertising, design and typography. Continuing on his path to artistic discovery, Bayer left the school in 1928 to become a graphic designer in Berlin, working for Vogue, Dorland advertising agency, and freelancing for the magazine Die Neue Linie. That same year, the artist took up photography, a medium which he would explore during the next decade, working with graphic views of architecture and montages. During his time in Berlin, Bayer also developed his interest in Surrealism and Cubism, movements that would become strong influences in his art.
Following an invitation from Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Walter Gropius in 1938 to help curate an exhibition on Bauhaus, Bayer relocated to New York City to write the catalogue and install the show. The success was such that he designed two more exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art. While in New York, he continued his work in graphic design, creating magazine covers for Fortune and Harpers Bazaar, a colorful and whimsical example of which is included in the present sale, lot 701. A few years later, Bayer relocated once more to Colorado, this time to design the campus of the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies, a project that would involve creating the architecture, interiors, graphics and landscape of the campus, allowing him to realize the Bauhaus ideal of total design.
While Bayer thought of himself primarily as a painter, some of his most famed works demonstrate his vast interest in the multifaceted aspects of art—humorous surrealist photographs, colorful and geometric adverts, intricate yet simple collages and photomontages. The following selection of works, regrouping photographs, collages and watercolors offered from a private European collection, provide a wonderful selection of works on paper demonstrating the artist’s wide range of interest.

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