Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, through April 5, 2020

Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master marks the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimer, Germany, in 1919 and features rare works by the groundbreaking 20th-century graphic designer Herbert Bayer. On view in the second-floor permanent collection galleries, the exhibition follows Bayer’s role as both student and teacher at the Bauhaus, as well as his illustrious career in the United States following his 1938 emigration.

Born in Austria and active in Germany and the U.S., Bayer (1900–1985) helped define a new language of graphic design suited to modern life during his years at the Bauhaus. Charting his stylistic shifts and theoretical contributions, Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master highlights Bayer’s interest in typography and photography, design theory, information design, fashion and beauty, and poster design as well as his corporate work.

Becoming one of the most influential graphic designers of his time, Bayer applied the school’s theories to commercial practice and promoted its legacy to the public. In addition to contributing to the rational New Typography movement of the 1920s, he created a hyperreal illustration style for use in infographics and advertising. He had an enormous impact on institutions in the U.S., including the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, where he activated the Bauhaus ideal of total design to architecture, landscape and graphics.” — Cooper Hewitt

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Book cover, Staatliches Bauhaus (State Bauhaus) in Weimar 1919 1923, 1923; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Letterpress and lithograph; Collection of Merrill C. Berman; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Card, Herbert Bayer, Verband Deutscher Reklamefachleute (Association of German Advertisers), 1928; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Letterpress; Collection of Merrill C. Berman; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Postcard, Bauhaus Austellung (Bauhaus Exhibition), Weimar, 1923; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Lithograph; Collection of Merrill C. Berman; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Design for postcard, Das Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar Macht Eine 1st Austellung (State Bauhaus in Weimar Makes a First Exhibition), 1923; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Gouache, ink, pencil; Collection of Merrill C. Berman; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Poster, Section Allemande (German Section), Exposition de la Société des Artistes Décorateurs, Grand Palais, 1930; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Lithograph; Collection of Merrill C. Berman; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Magazine cover, PM, Vol. 6, No. 2, December 1939; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Letterpress print; Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Print, The Skillful Hand, 1944; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Client: Bianchini-FÈrier, Inc.; Offset lithograph; Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Print, Noreen Super Color Rinse, ca. 1953; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Offset lithograph; Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Booklet pages, Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life), 1935; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Gravure; Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

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Poster, Divisumma, 1953; Designed by Herbert Bayer; Client: Ing. C. Olivetti & C S.p.A.; Offset lithograph; Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

“As the founding of the Bauhaus is being fêted across the globe this year, this powerful and focused exhibition will draw from Cooper Hewitt’s unique holdings—bolstered by a trove of more than 500 pieces acquired in 2015,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “The exhibition offers new insights and scholarship on this Bauhaus leader who helped shape the discourse of modern graphic design.”

The exhibition is organized by Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design, Cooper Hewitt.

Title Image: Installation photo of Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master. Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Images courtesy Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.