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La formation et l'évolution typographiques de Henry van de Velde (1863-1937)

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[Van de Velde's development as a typographer can be summarized as follows: 1893-4: he took charge of the typography of Van Nu en Straks. The venture was a near disaster, saved by the capital and the indulgence of the Vermeylens, father and son. Saved, too, by Van de Velde's genuine ability, which in its sobriety of expression owed something to the example of the publisher Deman, of Van Rijsselberghe, and especially of Max Elskamp. Brussels 1895: Max Elskanip taught him the craft which he in his turn had learnt from the printer Paul Buschmann senior (Antwerp 1846-1900). Elskamp was not particularly interested in type. He did however share with Van de Velde a passion for decoration and a hatred of illustrators - like Edmond Deman before him. Henry van de Velde and his young wife Maria Sèthe set and printed Six Chansons by Max Elskamp, who both adviscd and actively assisted them. Germany 1898-1908: Harry Kessler waxed enthusiastic about Van de Velde's talent. He rckindled his interest in fine books. But it was Georges Lemmen who designed the new typeface in which the Zarathustra was set in 1908. Kessler took the decisions about format and method of composition. Van de Velde designed the ornaments and the lay-out. Kessler never used Lemmen's typeface again and never worked with Van de Velde again on typography. From 1911 onwards he followed Emery Walker, Eric Gill and Edward Johnston. From 1914 to 1917 he entrusted the Cranach-Presse to Van de Velde, but this was dormant owing to the war. Van de Velde used it for printing Arno and Formules de la beauté architectonique moderne. 1926-1936: Van de Velde founded the ISAD at Brussels. He personally supervised the printing, in limited editions, of some twenty de luxe pamphlets on the private press belonging to this institute. These were for the most part of high quality. Some of them were illustrated with wood-cuts by the masters of Belgian xylography. Van de Velde made regular use of Lemmen's typeface. Van de Velde never designed a typeface himself. He continually varied his formats and his choice of face. For this reason it is only possible to guess at the direct or indirect influence which he exerted. Some of the works which he produced in collaboration with others were good enough to win him a place among the Belgian and international typographical elite (to use an expression of those days). Nevertheless, it cannot be said that his influence is comparable to that of amateurs such as William Morris, Cobden-Sanderson or Kessler; or of professionals such as Emery Walker, G. Meynell or J. H. Mason. Erratum: Nous avons à nous excuser auprès de nos lecteurs pour une erreur qui s'est glissée dans la note 3 , p. 276, Quaerendo 1/4, 1971. Le récit préfacé par Mme Cl. Lemaire n'est pas une traduction, mais bien la version originale de Van de Velde. (F.B.), Van de Velde's development as a typographer can be summarized as follows: 1893-4: he took charge of the typography of Van Nu en Straks. The venture was a near disaster, saved by the capital and the indulgence of the Vermeylens, father and son. Saved, too, by Van de Velde's genuine ability, which in its sobriety of expression owed something to the example of the publisher Deman, of Van Rijsselberghe, and especially of Max Elskamp. Brussels 1895: Max Elskanip taught him the craft which he in his turn had learnt from the printer Paul Buschmann senior (Antwerp 1846-1900). Elskamp was not particularly interested in type. He did however share with Van de Velde a passion for decoration and a hatred of illustrators - like Edmond Deman before him. Henry van de Velde and his young wife Maria Sèthe set and printed Six Chansons by Max Elskamp, who both adviscd and actively assisted them. Germany 1898-1908: Harry Kessler waxed enthusiastic about Van de Velde's talent. He rckindled his interest in fine books. But it was Georges Lemmen who designed the new typeface in which the Zarathustra was set in 1908. Kessler took the decisions about format and method of composition. Van de Velde designed the ornaments and the lay-out. Kessler never used Lemmen's typeface again and never worked with Van de Velde again on typography. From 1911 onwards he followed Emery Walker, Eric Gill and Edward Johnston. From 1914 to 1917 he entrusted the Cranach-Presse to Van de Velde, but this was dormant owing to the war. Van de Velde used it for printing Arno and Formules de la beauté architectonique moderne. 1926-1936: Van de Velde founded the ISAD at Brussels. He personally supervised the printing, in limited editions, of some twenty de luxe pamphlets on the private press belonging to this institute. These were for the most part of high quality. Some of them were illustrated with wood-cuts by the masters of Belgian xylography. Van de Velde made regular use of Lemmen's typeface. Van de Velde never designed a typeface himself. He continually varied his formats and his choice of face. For this reason it is only possible to guess at the direct or indirect influence which he exerted. Some of the works which he produced in collaboration with others were good enough to win him a place among the Belgian and international typographical elite (to use an expression of those days). Nevertheless, it cannot be said that his influence is comparable to that of amateurs such as William Morris, Cobden-Sanderson or Kessler; or of professionals such as Emery Walker, G. Meynell or J. H. Mason. Erratum: Nous avons à nous excuser auprès de nos lecteurs pour une erreur qui s'est glissée dans la note 3 , p. 276, Quaerendo 1/4, 1971. Le récit préfacé par Mme Cl. Lemaire n'est pas une traduction, mais bien la version originale de Van de Velde. (F.B.)]

10.1163/157006972X00175
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1972-01-01
2016-12-10

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