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Herbert Bayer

Austrian, American, 1900-1985

The Austrian-born Herbert Bayer is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential graphic artists of his time, but his extensive achievements span a spectrum of disciplines. The artistic polymath made his mark as a photographer and master of photomontage, a typography creator, magazine art director, advertising guru, architect and more.

As a student in the early 1920s at the Bauhaus — the revolutionary German art and design school in Weimar that sought to integrate art and design into daily life — Bayer studied under Russian-born Wassily Kandisnsky, who became his mentor, and was greatly influenced by Kandinsky’s book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, heartily embracing its premise that the arts can and should serve society.

Bayer left the Bauhaus in 1923 to tour Italy with a friend, then rejoined two years later, hired to teach advertising, design and typography at the school’s new home, in Dessau. There, he designed catalogues, featuring photography and machine-based printing, that promoted Bauhaus-made “goods for the home,” including handmade furniture, wallpaper and housewares. And he created a new “universal” alphabet: a streamlined sans serif restricted to lower-case letters that became the Bauhaus’s signature font.

Bayer quit teaching at the Bauhaus along with founder Walter Gropius and fellow teachers Marcel Breuer and László Maholy-Nagy when the school’s finances grew strained. He became the art director of German Vogue, moving on, when the magazine closed during the Depression, to the ad agency Dorland International, where he created the advertisements for clothing, textiles, toothpaste and nose drops on view. He also did magazine covers and outdoor billboards and masterminded the design of several important international exhibitions, including the German section of the 1930 Exposition de la Société des artistes décorateurs in Paris.

By 1938, Bayer had become dismayed by the political situation in Germany, and at the invitation of Gropius — who was then chair of the architecture department at Harvard, having fled the Nazi regime in 1934 — he left for the United States. Gropius had been asked to curate an exhibition on the Bauhaus for the Museum of Modern Art, but he didn’t have time and so asked Bayer to help. Bayer ultimately did it all, including gathering material in Germany, creating the exhibition plan and overseeing the catalogue. The show traveled throughout the U.S., and Bayer’s stateside career took off.

In the early 1940s, Bayer served as chief art director at Wanamaker’s and worked in advertising and package design at J. Walter Thompson. In 1945, he began a long stint working full-time at the Container Corporation of America (CCA). He created CCA’s long-running series “Great Ideas of Western Man,” which aimed to enlighten the public through inspiring quotes. Additionally, Bayer designed sculptures, wall murals, furniture, earth art and buildings for the Aspen Institute between 1946 and 1975.

Bayer’s work demonstrates how one man, and one school, changed the evolution of contemporary graphics in America over a 40-year period.

Find original Herbert Bayer prints and paintings on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Herbert Bayer
Original Vintage Art Exhibition Poster Bauhaus Chicago Illinois Herbert Bayer
By Herbert Bayer
Located in London, GB
Original vintage exhibition poster for 50 Years Bauhaus held from 25 August to 26 September 1969 held at the S.R. Crown Hall Illinois Institute of Technolog...
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1960s German Vintage Herbert Bayer

Materials

Paper

Original Vintage Advertising Poster Bauhaus Exhibition Royal Academy Of Arts
By Herbert Bayer
Located in London, GB
Original vintage advertising poster for 50 Years Bauhaus German Exhibition held from 21 September to 27 October 1968 at the Royal Academy of Arts Piccadilly London W1 featuring minim...
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1960s British Vintage Herbert Bayer

Materials

Paper

1968 Bauhaus, Herbert Bayer Original Vintage Poster
By Herbert Bayer
Located in Winchester, GB
Austrian-American designer Herbert Bayer was one of Bauhaus' most influential students & teachers. Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, the German art school ran for only 14 years howe...
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1960s German Vintage Herbert Bayer

Materials

Paper

Tapestry by Herbert Bayer Titled Event, 1980
By Herbert Bayer
Located in Miami, FL
Herbert Bayer "Event" tapestry, 1980. Signed lower left, "Bayer" and with insignia to lower right. Verso with signed, titled, dated and numbered (2/3) label. Produced by the Munchener Gobelin-Manufaktur. Tapestry 60...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Herbert Bayer

Materials

Wool, Oak

Herbert Bayer, Blue Moon Lithograph, Bauhaus Artist
By Herbert Bayer
Located in St. Louis, MO
Herbert Bayer, (American, 1900-1985). A lithograph titled Blue Moon. Signed lower right "Bayer 1961" and. Numbered 19 out of 50 printings. Appears to be in fine condition, not faded, no water damage tears visible. Not examined out of chrome frame, under glass. Has original Patricia Moore Inc., Gallery label, Aspen Colorado on reverse. Bio: Bayer worked variously as advertising artist, photographer, painter, sculptor, architect and landscape designer, reflecting his training at the Bauhaus...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Herbert Bayer

Materials

Paper

Katsura Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture
By Walter Gropius, Herbert Bayer
Located in New York, NY
Sumptuously produced treatment of the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of traditional Japanese architecture that resonated with and influenced Western modernism—think the simplicity and abstract beauty of tatami geometry combined with a holistic philosophy of indoor/outdoor living. The book itself is a cynosure of academic and graphic quality, with text by Walter Gropius and Kenzo Tange...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Herbert Bayer

Materials

Paper

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Previously Available Items
Artist's Maquette for the Articulated Wall Sculpture by Herbert Bayer
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Herbert Bayer furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Herbert Bayer furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of paper and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Herbert Bayer furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Herbert Bayer were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Otl Aicher, Paul Wunderlich, and Professor Fritz Klee. Prices for Herbert Bayer furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $600 and can go as high as $28,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,684.

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