May 18, 2023 - Sale 2637

Sale 2637 - Lot 52

Price Realized: $ 20,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000



21 3/4x15 1/4 inches, 55 1/4x38 3/4 cm.
Condition B+: expertly-replaced losses and expertly-repaired tears in margins; overpainting in margins and background; repaired tear at lower right edge, slightly into image; central text and image clean.

This exhibition, which originally ran from February 12 to March 24, 1929, was so successful that it stayed up through September. Although not stated in as many words, the exhibition was a showcase of American Art Deco interior design and architecture. Considered to be the American response to the 1925 Art Deco Exhibition in Paris, the interiors were designed by Joseph Urban, Ely Jacques Kahn, Ralph T. Walker, Eugene Schoen, John Wellborn Root, Eliel Saarinen, Raymond Hood and Armistead Fitzhugh.

Writing in the March 9, 1919 issue of The New Yorker Magazine, the architect critic George S. Chappell wrote, "The show . . . should not be missed. From the poster [Dwiggins'] on the outside to the entrance of the exhibition gallery inside one is guided by colorful signposts . . . "

"W.A. Dwiggins was responsible for the graphics for The Architect and the Industrial Arts exhibition. He designed the poster, the exhibition labels, and contributed a cover design and ornaments to the catalogue. His work was thoroughly in keeping with the Art Deco aesthetics of the designs created by the Cooperating Committee members" (

"The poster for The Architect and the Industrial Arts was designed in late 1928. It is set in Futura Medium, which had reached the American market earlier that year. The typography, with the text letters spaced, justified (except for the top line which is centered) and placed within rules, is typical of Art Deco in its emphasis on symmetry. Dwiggins' "concrete-mixer" abstract stencil ornaments - actually one design and a variant - in blue, orange and olive complete the modern look. Dwiggins rarely designed posters and the few of them that he did, including this one for The Architect and the Industrial Arts, are all relatively small. It is unclear if the poster was distributed in the city or if it was only used internally at the museum" (ibid).

Though not widely known by name, Dwiggins was a creative virtuoso, he worked on projects ranging from typography, painting, marionettes and furniture to kite design, but was most prominent in the publishing and print world. Known in close circles as "WAD," he established the style of publisher Alfred A. Knopf's books, and developed at least a dozen typefaces including Caledonia and Electra. Dwiggins created the original logotype for General Motors, and worked for publications such as Life and Harper's. He also served as director of the Harvard University Press, and founded the Society of Calligraphers in Boston. This is one of the very few posters he designed. Rare. The Met 1928.2.