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Lester Beall collection, 1933-ca. 1967

Creator:
Beall, Lester 1903-
Subject:
Hauck, Fred
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive
Marshall Field & Company (Chicago, Ill.)
Tribune Company
Heim Jeunes Filles
George Bijur, Inc
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
Labatt's Canada Limited
Stanley Works Inc
House of Herbs, Inc
International Paper Company
Chance Vought Corporation
Abbott Laboratories
Upjohn Company
Cone Automatic Machine Company
Narragansett Brewing Co
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, inc
Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.)
Physical description:
1 cu. ft. 1 box
Type:
Photographs
Collection descriptions
Sources
Advertisements
Exhibition catalogs
Greeting cards
Logos
Design drawings
Posters
Tear sheets
Announcements
Place:
United States
Dumbarton Farm (Brookfield, Conn.)
Date:
1933
1933-1967
1933-ca 1967
20th century
Notes:
American designer Lester Beall (1903-1969) was educated at Lane Technical School in Chicago and received a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Chicago. Upon discovering the work of the European avant-garde, Beall was inspired to bring American design of the 1930s and 1940s to a higher level of effective visual communication. Self-taught, Lester Beall was one of the first Americans to have his work shown in a German monthly graphics periodical, Gebrauchsgraphik, and was one of the first Americans to incorporate the New Typography, using techniques such as photomontage, collage and the use of cut-out flat colored paper in combination with photography and economical line drawing, reworking the element of European modernism into distinctive American style. He produced solutions to graphic design problems that were unique among his American contemporaries.
Beall moved from Chicago to New York in 1935 and did work that was influential to the field of editorial design. Between 1938 and 1940, he redesigned twenty magazines for McGraw Hill, in 1946 he designed two covers for Fortune and in 1944, he began designing Scope magazine for UpJohn Pharmaceuticals which he did until 1951. In 1952, Beall opened a design office on Dumbarton Farm, his home in rural Connecticut. In 1973, four years after his death, Lester Beall was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.
Philip B. Meggs credits Beall with "almost single-handedly launching the modern movement in American design". In 1973, four years after his death, the Art Directors Club of New York belatedly elected him to its prestigious Hall of Fame. Bob Plisken, who worked for Beall in the early 1940s, said on that occasion, "In my opinion, Beall did more than anyone to make graphic design in American a distinct and respected profession".
Summary:
This collection documents the career of Lester Beall, graphic designer and commercial artist from approximately 1933-1967.
Publications:
Lester Beall. Brookfield Center, Conn. : Lester Beall, Inc., [197-?]
Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design / Roger R. Remington and Barbara J. Hodik. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1989
Lester Beall : trailblazer of American graphic design / Roger R. Remington. New York : W.W. Norton, 1996
Graphic Design History / Steven Heller and Georgette Balance. New York : Allworth Press, 2001
Cite as:
Lester Beall Papers, 1933-ca.1967, Archives Center, National Museum of American HIstory
Topic:
Graphic arts--History
Commercial art--History
Commercial artists
Graphic designers
Local number:
2012.3084 (NMAH Acc.)
1998-33-1
Data Source:
Archives Center - NMAH

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