Harry N Abrams Inc., New York. 1989. 162 pages + 1 fold out chart. Large 4to (31 x 23,5 cm). Cloth. A very fine copy in like dustwrapper. 340 illustrations including 70 in full colour. With chronology, notes, bibliography, biographical timeline. First edition. The best book on the work of Alexey Brodovitch, the man with standing request: ”Astonish me!”
Alexey Brodovitch is remembered today as the art director of Harper’s Bazaar for nearly a quarter of a century. At Harper’s Bazaar, where he was art director from 1934 to 1958, Brodovitch used the work of such European artists as Man Ray, Salvador Dali, and A.M. Cassandre, as well as photographers Bill Brandt, Brasai, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Besides his achievements at Bazaar, Brodovitch’s legacy as a publications designer includes the short-lived but influential magazine Portfolio, three issues of which were published in 1949 and 1950. A flashy, innovative quarterly aimed at the design profession, Portfolio contained profusely illustrated feature on Alexander Calder, Charles Eames, Paul Rand, Saul Steinberg and others, as well as articles surveying the graphic variations of cattle brands and shopping bags. As art editor, Brodovitch helped conceive the magazine’s contents, as well as creating its distinct design with the help of die-cuts, transparent pages, multi-page fold outs and other elaborate (and expensive) graphic devices.
Today Brodovitch’s legacy is remarkably rich. His layouts remain models of graphic intelligence and inspiration, even if seldom imitated, and the artists, photographers and designers whose careers he influenced continue to shape graphic design in the image of his uncompromising ideals. (AIGA).