I haven’t finished with the Artist Partners AP2 brochure/catalogue/thingy, not yet. There’s a large chunk of its content that I’ve been ignoring so far, and that’s the sheer number of foreign designers who are represented in the book. Designers like Savignac, for example.
Or Andre Francois.
Now in itself, that’s perhaps not so surprising – it’s good for Artist Partners and good for the designers. But it leads to a couple of interesting thoughts. The first is that these renowned designers are clearly working for UK agencies and firms as well as in their own country, which I didn’t know. These two images above aren’t the only examples, the book contains plenty more in black and white.
Here’s Francois working for Mazda, Gillette and Taylor Walkers Ale.
Then Jean Colin for WH Smith and Nestle, as well as in French.
I haven’t turned up any examples of these designs anywhere else, even though all three artists are highly collectable, which once again shows how much our view of these graphics is based on the very partial sample of what has survived.
On top of this, it is also surprising just how many foreign designers there are in AP2. On top of those who mainly lived and worked abroad, (and the AP book also includes Herbert Leupin, Donald Brun and Saul Bass), several more of those represented are emigres who came over as a result of the war – designers like Hans Unger and George Him.
There’s also Heinz Kurth, who gets a double-page spread in the book and may well belong in this category too.
He also did the really excellent photography illustration that I’ve illustrated before (currently pinging its way round the web thanks to Martin Klasch)
But I can’t seem to find out anything more about his story and whether he actually worked in Britain or not – I’m guessing he did from the AP images, which are pretty much all British. He did also do this.
which does rather suggest he was based in the UK, and which you could buy if you wanted for just £100, a bit of a bargain if you ask me.
Which leads me to a further, bigger conclusion, about just how much modernism really was a foreign import in Britain. But that’s another thought for another post, not least because there are a few books I need to read before I stick my opinions on the line. If you’ve got anything to say on this, please do let me know.