A Muse: Alexey Brodovitch

July 28, 2009

About Alexey Brodovitch

“Arriving in Paris in 1920 from revolution torn Russia, Alexey Brodovitch began his career painting sets for Ballet Russes and gradually immersing in design earning recognition through the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts and by winning a poster competition for Bal Banal, a dance benefit for Russian artists. Approached to establish an advertising art department at Philedelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts), he moved to the United States in 1930, providing a starting point for his highly influential teachings -among his first group of students was Irving Penn. Brodovitch worked across design and advertising in Philedephia and New York, but his pivotal career poing came in 1934 when Camel Snow, new editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, saw an advertising show hosted by the Art Directors Club in New York curated by Brodovitch and offered him the art director position that evening.

With an unparalleled sensibility and approach to photography, layout and typography Brodovitch governed the look of Harper’s Bazaar for the next 24 years. He commissioned work from European artists like Man Ray, Salvador Dali, and A.M.Cassandre and American photographers like Richard Avedon, Lisette Model, and Diane Arbus -most of whom were Brodovitch students in his Design Laboratory class at the New School for Social Research in New York that ran from 1941 to 1959. Brodovitch collaborated with art director Frank Zachary to create the short lived Portfolio, a luscious magazine for visual artists published for just three issues. Brodovitch published Ballet in 1945, a collection of his own photographs -blurred and full of motion- of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo taken between 1935 and 1937. He left Harper’s Bazaar in 1958 and moved back to France in 1966, he passed away in 1971 in Le Thor, France.”

(from Graphic Design Referenced by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit)






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2 Responses to “A Muse: Alexey Brodovitch”

  1. The Juicer said

    Lovely Post- and the pictures are so well chosen. It’s amazing how this his B&W photography speaks much louder and deeper than what we see in mainstream fashion publications today.

    • Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
      And I totally agree with you about the effect of his b&w photography. His photography, typography and layout decisions look so much sophisticated than the mainstream fashion magazines today.

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