17x24 1/4 inches, 43x61 1/2 cm. Condition B+: rippling and minor creases in margins and image; small water stains in upper margin and text; faded; hand-colored with watercolor. Paper. Matted and framed.
Brodovitch was a key figure in the development of 20th century graphic design. Born in Russia, he immigrated to Paris where he first distinguished himself as a graphic designer, working for a host of prestigious clients such as Aux Trois Quartiers, Arts et Métiers Graphiques, Cahiers d'Art and the restaurant Prunier. His designs won him five awards at the 1925 Art Deco exhibition. In the early 1930s, he moved to New York, where he eventually became the art director for Harper's Bazaar, during which time he hired A.M. Cassandre, as well as other top European designers like Man Ray and Herbert Bayer, to design covers for the magazine. He was also responsible for nurturing and developing young American talents such as Richard Avedon. This rare poster is Brodovitch's first published work, the result of winning a poster design competition to advertise a ball for Russian émigrés in Paris. The image is reflective of the Parisian art movements of the period, swinging between Cubism and the newborn Surrealism. Andy Grundberg cleverly analyzes it as "suggestive of both the influences on him and of his own future directions. The graphics, light to dark inversion of its mask shape, type and background not only suggest the positive negative process of photography but also symbolically represents the process of masking; one trades one's identity for another, contrary one" (Brodovitch p. 24). These posters were printed in black and white and hand-painted, making each one slightly different from the others.