A visit with a graphic master way ahead of his time,
FOR, the talented group of Hand Lettering artists at AG.
Born in Versec, Hungary, in 1900, Imre Reiner is generally understood to be the ultimate modernist graphic designer. Despite early years living in Yugoslavia and Romania — and later in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Paris, London, New York and Chicago, his cultural identity was always deeply connected to his Eastern European roots: he was, first and foremost, a Hungarian of the Jewish faith. His early training in sculpture, painting, graphic and industrial design provided him with an unusually comprehensive formal foundation, and his prodigious output over the next 50 years reflected this deeply eclectic education: Reiner was skilled in calligraphy and typography, engraving and illustration, painting and graphic design. He produced a body of work that distinguished itself primarily through the adaptation of
individual craft into public artifact, creating over a dozen typefaces, and more than one hundred different hand-drawn alphabets. His calligraphic style was distinctively his own, enthusiastically invoking the abstract without renouncing the classic. At the same time, he worked steadily as a literary illustrator, bringing a visual reading to the works of Cervantes, Goethe and Voltaire — as well as a host of moderns, including Frisch, Gorky and Rilke.
special thanks to Below the Fold:
He was educated at the Staatliche Bilhauerschule Zalatua (scipture school), and continued his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Frankfurt (School of Arts & Crafts). This early training encompassed sculpture, painting, graphic and industrial design.
From 1921 he attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart, where he studied under Professor F. H. Ernst Schneidler. He continued to learn from Schneidler as a masterclass student of his at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart until 1927. It was Professor Schneidler who introduced him to type design. Schneidler worked for the Bauer Type Foundry in Stuttgart, and Reiner followed in his footsteps, producing his early type designs for the same foundry. Pepita was based on his own handwriting.
Between 1923 and 1925, he worked as a graphic designer in London, Paris, New York and Chicago. However from 1931 he was based in Ruvigiliana, near Lugano, in Switzerland. There he worked as a painter, graphic designer and literary illustrator. He died aged 87 in Lugano.