Dutch, 1885 - 1987
Druk de Bussy, printer (Amsterdam)
image: H. 29 1/2 x W. 26 in.
sheet: H. 42 1/4 x W. 30 5/8 in.
By the time of the First World War, artists’ statements and writings were being published in exhibition catalogues. Artists were also writing criticism and reviews in magazines such as De Stijl and the Amsterdam School magazine, Wendingen, founded in 1918. Both consisted of writings by artists and architects rather than by professional critics. The articles—ranging from social housing, the theater, and Hungarian illustration to the work of specific architect-designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright—helped to establish them as "personalities," to cement reputations first in Holland and later in other European countries and the United States.
At the time, Theo Wijdeveld was among the Netherlands’ most colorful architects. His earliest work was decorative and similar in style to that of William Morris, generally devoid of a single straight line. It was with the January 1918 issue of his sumptuously produced magazine Wendingen that he began creating complex visuals using typographic elements. A total of 116 issues were published, many now famous, all incorporating creative typography and receiving considerable criticism from traditional typographers.
Wijdeveld generally used simplified forms, yet in a decorative if blocky, architectonic fashion. He was concerned more with form than function. He designed posters, alphabets, and book covers, adapting his typography to a wide range of decorative styles and combining drawn lettering that contrasted with highly constructed typecases. Lettering designed from lines and blocks shortly became his trademark.