University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Herbert Matter, a United States based Siwiss photographer who was most famous for his revolutionary efforts in the field of photography and graphic design. The swiss mountain village of Engelburg gave birth to the man who changed the world of photography and garaphic arts in 1907. Herbert’s birthplace was also prided itself with the inevitable exposure to one of the greatest medieval art collections in Europe. Path to Legacy The year 1925 saw Herbert as a student in the Ecole de Beaux Arts in the populous city of Genva where he studied painting.
His stay with Ecole des Beaux was made short by his fascination for modernism which promted him to transfer to the city of Paris in France. He pursued his new found passion in the Academie Moderne as a disciple of Fernand Leger and Amedee Ozenfant which both stimulated Herbert’s mind to amplify imagination and artistic horizons. The succeeding decades brought Herbert to new dimensions as his in-born affection with the camera and the vast creative aspects in the field of graphic design fueled his ideals which created a never ending relationship between science and art in the form of Optical devices as his design tool and means of expression.
The Works Herbert Matter’s lifelong work heavily focused on the principles of montage and collage. The fascination that he feels on such forms of art and his influence from the works of El Lissitzky and Man Ray only drove him further to experiment for the advancement of graphic design. Ironically, Matter did not consider originality as part of the main grounds for his work. He usually loans ideas from other artists. In a more peculiar perspective, he was more inclined to draw inspiration from paintings rather than photography.
In referral to his Statue-Mask in 1940, though revolutionary and innovative, it was modest yet screaming to be part of popular culture during the time. Herbert’s 1946 design for Knoll Association’s brochures gave an abstract yet colorful detail to the publication’s entirety. The dawn of modernization in graphic arts such as motion picture and photography and his trip to the United States inspired the design of the brochure. The meticulously detailed publication may have contained less images but the color combinations and the integrated abstract art gave more flavor to the brochure.
The posters found at the Swiss Tourist Office is a fine example of Herbert’s distinct creation of visual beauty. The poster itself is a graphic display of creativity and expression of his eagerness to offer somethhing new to the table as the poster indicates vibrant colors and an unconventional approach to tourism. The teasing appeal of this particular photographic piece was fed by the reality of the economic and political instabilites of the nations during the great depression. In a general point of view, Matter’s art may not appeal to everyone who views it.
The visual innovation he created may not be perceived in an artistic context, however, the pieces he created still is graphically attracting. The art he helped develop has already branched out to several forms that the common people utilize today In numerous manners, Matter received commendations from his comrades and students alike. Tributes to his motives, goals, approach and career have been written. The ever modest character of both Matter and his art only suggests that the inent is expressed through work and not through sppech r fame..
Herbert Matter’s consideration of production value gave him the edge as a graphic designer. The skillfull execution on common and general contexts was what elevated him to a different perspective. The exploitation of devices and the integreated principles that Matter applied such as a quality camera, good position of lights, strikinlgy unusual settings and good darkroom utencils are the secrets to his artistic approach. The post-darkroom output of his efforts evidently bequeaths visual proof of his ingenuity.
In addition, Matter also considers the viewers aspect on how he did his work. The contemporary world of graphic design and photography takes much credit from Herbert Matter. The successful communication of the messages that his work opted is immortalized by the strong expressions and the evolution he made. The advancements and experiments he conducted in his field created tremors that are still felt today. A notable design is from the Guggenheim Museum where his design is still used today.