Showing posts with label Meister der Einbandkunst. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meister der Einbandkunst. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ernst Collin on Gerhard Gerlach, 1930

Received one of my interlibrary loan requests today, an article by Ernst Collin about bindings being exhibited by Meister der Einbandkunst at the Bugra exhibition in Leipzig. The Bugra was THE most significant publishing and binding trade fair in Germany at that time.

In the article titled Die alte, neue Bugramesse: Was die Meister der Einbandkunst zeigten,Collin described the refocusing of the Bugra back to its roots and away from a more general trades oriented exhibition.He also provided context for the Bugra, and among other things commented on the contrast between the high art of French binding and the dominance of simple paperback bindings on poor paper for the majority of trade books.

Then there was this, still, new group, Meister der Einbandkunst, with a modest exhibition of bindings by established binders and lesser known members. Given the limited space available to him, Collin focused on several binders chosen in no particular order of significance in order to highlight their work. Among them Gerhard Gerlach who emigrated to the US with his American wife Katheryn. From the retrospective part of the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition:
Gerhard Gerlach was born in 1907 in Germany, apprenticed to a binder for three years and studied with Ignatz Wiemeler at the State Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, attaining his certificate and diploma as a master binder before emigrating to the United States. He was brought to the USA by a young American he met at the Academy, Katheryn Edwards. Together they formed a remarkable bookbinding team, crafting not only fine bindings but fine binders. Upon arriving in the USA in 1934, he taught at Columbia University. At his Bookbinding Workshop, opened in 1945, he partnered for a short while with Hope G. Weil and later Charlotte Ullman. Among his students were Eva Clarke, Margaret Lecky, Inez Pennybacker, Hope Weil, Arno Werner, and Laura Young. Gerhard Gerlach joined the Guild in 1939 remaining a member until his death in 1968. To honor his contributions, the Guild mounted a memorial exhibition of his bindings at the Grolier Club in 1971.
Here an edited composite of the Collin article with the section on Gerlach.

Die alte, neue Bugramesse: Was die Meister der Einbandkunst zeigten,
Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, Vol 45, Nr 12, 1930 (244-245)

Given the significance of the Bugra and Gerlach's connection to Wiemeler I searched online to see if any bindings were depicted. Like winning the lotto, all the Gerlach bindings happened to be for sale very recently and were depicted at Peter L. Masi – books (along with many other bindings). With permission I reproduce them here with Collin's translated comments.

Design study for Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen


Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen, 1918, #54, bound by Gerhard Gerlach


Of Hegel, Delius, Seinen Briefen, 1918, #54, Collin wrote "that the binding is divided into two sets of parallel panels in which the outside ones have tightly spaced parallel lines tooled in blind. This allows the grain of the leather to stand out more in the untooled panels, but unfortunately the denseness of the tooled lines obscure the natural grain of the leather."

 Collin also singles out the remaining bindings below for the way in which the leather, the design of the bindings, and the tooling whether blind or gold. stand out positively.


Hofmannsthal, Deutsche Epigramme, Munchen, 1923, #83, bound by Gerhard Gerlach




Carl Burckhardt, Kleinasiatische Reise, Munchen, 1925, bound by Gerhard Gerlach


von Aue, Borchardt, Der arme Heinrich, Munchen, 1925

He concludes by saying that this young binder has shown himself to be a "hope awakening personality" for the future.

The work of Wiemeler and Dorfner was part of the "new objectivity" (neue Sachlichkeit) that was  "Americanism, cult of the objective, the hard fact, the predilection for functional work, professional conscientiousness, and usefulness." To the Nazis it was degenerate, but even then the style was adapted well to serve their "need" for presentation bindings and other accessories, but that is a story for another time.

The Gerhard & Kathryn Gerlach collection was recently sold by Peter L. Masi Books and those wishing to study the bindings, artwork, correspondence... will want to travel to Indiana University's Lilly Library in Bloomington - a most fitting home. Give them time to process and catalog first though - it was just acquired.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jahrbuch der Einbandkunst 2

Back in April of 2012 I shared this binding from my reference library, one of those books that changes how you approach your field and the history of it. Below a snippet from that blog post...

The copy above, bound by/in the firm of E.A. Enders (Leipzig) is from my collection. I remember being blown away by it on many levels when it was brought into Bill Minter's shop by a dealer who wanted to have a nice clamshell box made for it. Much to Bill's chagrin, the book was sold on the spot (for what was then a lot of money) with a box made shortly thereafter in my own then modest studio. I very quickly found myself sucked into the essays, especially the ones on contemporary binding. It was my first (and really only) design binding purchase and I still love to study the design, the combination of decor, the typographic elements - Germans integrated the title into designs more so than other traditions - and also the little flaws that make it "human."
Yesterday another one of my orders arrived from Germany, this time from Antiquariat Peter Ibbetson, the kind of order one needs to sign for, so glad it was Saturday... Among them was book that I had dawdled over ordering, Musterbetriebe deutscher Wirtschaft: Die Großbuchbinderei E.A. Enders, Leipzig - München from 1929. Translated, "Model Businesses of German Industry," the introduction challenges the reader to learn about German model businesses, pointing out the deluge of publications by and about American model industries, and that these are better known than the "native" German ones... This one is number 6 in the series, here the WorldCat record..


Although part of a series, this book is very similar to the many other publications by binderies such as Extra Binding at the Lakeside Press (R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company, 1925), or Ernst Collins' essays "Fünfzig Jahre deutscher Verlegereinband, 1875 - 1925" in Festschrift Hübel & Denck (Leipzig: Hübel & Denck, 1925) or "Vom guten Geschmack und von der Kunstbuchbinderei" in Spamersche Buchbinderei (Leipzig: Spamer, 1914). These publications tend to give a history of the book and the bindery, highlighting the functional areas with illustrations of the workspaces and the bindings produced in them.

So in reading/leafing through the book I get to page 39 (Sonderabteilung für Handeinbände, Extra Binding Department) and what do I find??? Look familiar? Unfortunately, the 6 pages of that section don't provide any details about the binding, although other bindings mentioned are described as exemplars of the materials and techniques applied in this kind of work.


Oh, so very glad I grabbed it...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jahrbuch der Einbandkunst

The Jahrbuch der Einbandkunst (Yearbook of the Art of Bookbinding) was a journal published 4 times, 1927, 1928, 1929/30, 1937. It was published by the Meister der Einbandkunst (MDE), the German association of masters of the art of binding that grew of out the Jakob-Krause-Bund. Both organizations included some of the most influential German binders of the late 19th and early 20th century, among them Paul Adam, Otto Dorfner, Paul Kersten, Franz Weiße, and Ignatz Wiemeler.

Published in German, each volume was divided into two parts, with essays by leading scholars in the field on historic and contemporary bookbinding, respectively. Included in the contemporary sections were "reviews" of the state of fine binding in individual nations allowing the reader to compare trends in design and see who was coming up in the field. The date range of 1927 - 1937 is also very interesting in particular when viewing the German contributions as this period covers the Depression, Weimar Republic, the period of the Bauhaus, and the ascendency of the Nazis. All these influenced binding design and content, often quite graphically - art, craft, and politics are very intertwined.


The copy above, bound by/in the firm of E.A. Enders (Leipzig) is from my collection. I remember being blown away by it on many levels when it was brought into Bill Minter's shop by a dealer who wanted to have a nice clamshell box made for it. Much to Bill's chagrin, the book was sold on the spot (for what was then a lot of money) with a box made shortly thereafter in my own then modest studio. I very quickly found myself sucked into the essays, especially the ones on contemporary binding. It was my first (and really only) design binding purchase and I still love to study the design, the combination of decor, the typographic elements - Germans integrated the title into designs more so than other traditions - and also the little flaws that make it "human." For instance, the titles on the spine and boards were tooled not from cast type/letters, but pieced together from various straight line pallets and curved gouges like those below.

From Fine Cut
Over time I was able to acquire the remaining 3 volumes, all in different bindings - plain 1/4 leather, rough cloth, and the paper wrapper in which it was issued. Together they provide a tremendous snapshot of the work being produced in Germany and around the world during a tumultuous period.

Other bindings on this journal can be viewed online below. Image quality not great, but they show a wide range of binding styles.
To find the journal at a "library near you" go to WorldCat.The archive of Meister der Einbandkunst is at the University and Regional Library Münster.