Lucian Bernhard

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On February 19, 1923, the Germany artist Lucian Bernhard (1885-1972) arrived in New York City, already a successful graphic designer. The next year, when Elmer Adler (1884-1962) arranged to rent the seventh floor of the New York Times Annex for Pynson Printers, Bernhard sublet rooms from Adler and hung out his sign along the same hallway. Together, they designed beautiful books, invitations, and other printed material.


Bernhard continued to work for the Bauersche Giesserei (Bauer Type Foundry) and so, returned to Germany each year until 1927 when the firm opened a New York office with Bernhard and Adler at the Times Annex. Now permanently based in New York, Bernhard established the Contempora Studio with Rockwell Kent, Paul Poiret, Bruno Paul, and Erich Mendelsohn, expanding on his talents as an interior designer.

A number of typefaces named for Bernhard continue to be used today, including Bernhard Gothic, Bernhard Fashion, Lucian, Bernhard Tango and Bernhard Brushscript. Here are a few of the specimen books offering samples.

bernhard7.jpg In 1928, Bernhard was asked to write an article for House and Garden on “Modernism in the Home,” in which he promoted his own work along with that of his German colleagues.

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Thank you for sharing this interesting artist with us, Julie. Before reading this I had not heard of Lucian Bernhard, so I’m glad I came across this. As far as his work goes I really like the one with the dog. You wouldn’t happen to know the printing process they used back in his day, would you?