Ars Libri Ltd | Collections

Paul Schuitema Collection

Paul Schuitema, flyer for P. van Berkel Ltd. Rotterdam, circa 1928

An extensive collection of the graphic design of the Dutch designer Paul Schuitema (1897-1973), noted for his innovative use of photomontage and color is currently available from the rare book firm, Ars Libri

Paul Schuitema, born in the Netherlands, was a graphic designer proficient in typography, furniture-making, architecture, photography, painting, lithography and film. Schuitema, started out as a painter, studying at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam. After the first World War, Schuitema left painting and embraced early modernism: his interest in mass production and technology lead him to apply the principals of de Stijl, Constructivism and Bauhaus to advertising and print media. He was a member of Kurt Schwitter's Ring neue Werbegestalter (Circle of New Advertising Designers), which included contemporaries Piet Zwart, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer and Jan Tschichold.

With his experimental use of photography, Schuitema made a significant contribution to the New Photography movement, later becoming one of the first teachers at the Academy of Visual Art in The Hague. It was there that he taught design and photography.

Complex and various, the Ars Libri collection includes advertising brochures and pamphlets for industry and government agencies, flyers, pamphlets, and announcement cards, cover designs for magazines and books, letterhead stationery, postage stamps, and other items, covering the whole of his his career. Schuitema’s commissions from the manufacturers Berkel (who's advertising work he is best know for), Gispen, Boele & van Eesteren, and de Vries Robbé & Co. are all represented in depth, including proofs and signed examples.

Also included is a rare early woodcut by the artist, a group of posters from his later career (some of them signed), and several large-format photographs. The collection is accompanied by a small group of reference books and exhibition catalogues on Schuitema and his work.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Graphic Design, Media

Comments [2]

Beautiful collection. Some of the captions seem a bit off though. The caption underneath image 14 seems incorrect. The 'Caminada' caption that sits under image 21 seems to belong to image 20. And there are a couple of other captions that seem not quite right... But other that that, good stuff.

Always a fan of any graphic design work and what a treat to discover photography involved as well. As a student I am continuously studying art forms and mediums separately. Though my passion is a mix between graphic design and photography, there is much more involved few far and between. It is extremely important to me to discover a relation or path of uniting multiple media designs into one beneficial creation.

Paul Schuitema captures that theory or concept of integrations. His use of photo montage and dadaist qualities, he uses those photographs or negatives and construct graphic design work. My favorite among the collection was the promotional brochure for a film screening, by Filmliga Rotterdam. Here the use of film, graphic design and typography, photographs, and collage all encompass the very aspects for creating a great piece of work.

There are Bauhaus distinctions in several of his pieces as well for example, the brochure for tubular steel furniture. Which during the twentieth century of art, Bauhaus students were perfecting the construction and advertisement for such new ideas. The melding of photographs of the tubular steel chair design with typography has been a brilliant part of the first graphic designers of Paris, Germany, and Russia. Though this does lead me to question how the Netherlands were directly reflected during this boom of design education? Another question that is raised in regards to the dadaist qualities of his work, was in fact Mr. Schuitema a dadaist?

Nevertheless I enjoyed the collection on many levels of respect for his knowledge of photography, woodcuts, graphic design, typography, and even painting or film. All are great qualities a designer should be aware or familiar with throughout their life time. It is important to always explore and discover a new way of redesign and rethinking.
Keara McKnight

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