Herbert Matter Biography
Herbert matter was born in 1907 in Engelberg, a Swiss mountain village. in 1925, he attended the evolve des beaux-arts in Geneva. in 1927, he moved to Paris and attended the academy modern under the tutelage of fernand léger & amédée ozenfant. Inspired by the work of el lissitzky & man ray, Herbert matter began to experiment with the rollei, focusing on photograms, collage & montage.
in 1929 Herbert matter was hired as a designer & photographer for the legendary Deberny & Peignot concern where he learned the nuances of fine typography while he assisted a.m. Cassandre & le corbusier.
in 1932 he was abruptly expelled from France for not having the proper papers & returned to Switzerland where he designed posters for the Swiss tourist office. he was offered a round trip ticket to the united states at payment for his work with a Swiss ballet troupe in 1936. when the tour ended, he decided to remain. Herbert matter went to see Alexey Brodovitch, who had been collecting the swiss travel posters, & was soon taking photographs for harper’s bazaar & Saks Fifth Avenue.
During World War II he made posters for the container corporation of America. he became the design consultant at knoll in 1944 where Herbert matter worked with Charles & ray Eames closely for over 12 years. he joined the Yale faculty in 1952 as a professor of photography & graphic design. in 1954, Herbert matter was commissioned to create the corporate identity for the new haven railroad. the ubiquitous “nh” logo, with its elongated serifs, was one of the most identifiable symbols in America.
in 1944, he was asked by the museum of modern art to direct a movie on the sculpture of his close friend & neighbor, alexander Calder, which was an artistic success. from 1958 to 1968, he was the design consultant for the Guggenheim museum. in 1960 Herbert matter started photographing the sculpture of another close friend, Alberto Giacometti, for a book project – they would work on it for the next 25 years & the book was published posthumously.
his beautiful wife, Mercedes, was the daughter of the American modernist painter Arthur beecher carless & was herself a painter, founding the new york studio school. they counted among their friends alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert frank & Alberto Giacometti, Franz Kline & Philip Guston.
Herbert matter died on may 8, 1984.
Herbert Matter – work
Herbert Matter is regarded as the founder of modern photographic poster in Switzerland. In the early 1930she built the medium of photography in convincing the advertising until then had been drawn graphics. Photomontage in connection with his distinctive style typography was means by which he found a good balance between art and commerce. Another field was the illustration of magazines and the design of front pages.
Herbert Matter as a photographer documented the work of numerous artists. Outstanding here is the documentation of the work of Alberto Giacometti. In a letter to Matter Giacometti writes: “… and it forces meto tell you just how very happy I made ??this series of beautiful photographs. […] It is by far the most beautiful photographs ever made ??of my work and they also radiate from its very own reality. […] I cannot tell you how excited I am by your work and how you prefer to Matter, to thank for everything you do … “GIACOMETTI TOMATTER, 19 May 1961
Herbert Matter – Exhibitions
1943 Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
1962 American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York
1978 Swiss Foundation for Photography at the Kunsthaus Zurich
2005 Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Herbert Matter – Literatur
Poets Camera, Studio Publications, New York, 1949
Photographs an Graphic Symbols, The American Institute of GRaphic Arts, New York, 1961
Alberto Giacometti, Benteli, Bern, 1987
Hebert Matter FotoGrafiker. Sehformen der Zeit. Das Werk der zwanziger und dreissiger Jahre, Lars Müller, Baden, 1995
Kurt Blum and Herbert Metter: Two Swiss Artists Encounter Mark Rothko, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, 2005
Herbert Matter – Filme
1949 Works of Calder
1950-55 The Spirit Moves und Dancing with Mura Dehn