Art and Industry: The Principles of Industrial Design by Herbert Read, 1938, 1st American Edition; first published in the United Kingdom by Faber and Faber, October 1934. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. 7.75 x 10.25, pp. 143. Printed in Great Britain. The first edition states typography and cover design by Herbert Bayer but this edition does not, although with the exception of the dust jacket flaps, cloth cover and end papers, the interior's layout mimics the 1934 edition.
Introduction by the author, followed by four sections: The Problem in Its Historical and Theoretical Aspects; Form; Colour and Ornament; and Art Education in the Industrial Age. With Appendices and Index towards the end. Perhaps the first English book to deal with complex questions of abstract principles of design, function and comfort and machine production related to artistic and industrial education. Heavily illustrated with 130 black and white examples.
The uncommon dust jacket features a wood wall-relief designed by Alvar Aalto demonstrating the unusual elasticity and new creative possibilities of bent plywood. The photograph is by Aalto’s friend, P. Morton Shand who’s company Finmar, imported Aalto’s furniture into the UK. Interestingly, the photo was suggested by the publishers production manager, after Bayer’s suggestion to use “a photograph of an early Chinese vase, was rejected by the author and publisher—as being not modern”.
This lesser-known design by Bayer which “broke with the pattern of book design so well established in British publishing” is an important post collaboration between Read, the young, modern publisher Faber Books, Bayer, Laszlo Moholy Nagy (who helped obtain New Vision images) and Walter Gropius who Read praised and may have met in Germany. For a remarkable analysis of the making of this book, see: Herbert Read’s Art and Industry: a history by Robin Kinross in the Journal of Design History, Vol. 1, No. 1., 1988.
A very good vintage hardcover with soiling to the black covers, toning to the end papers and light waviness to some pages. The original jacket with edge wear is moderately soiled with some scratches and small paper loss to the corners and upper spine. An important book and excellent reference material with clean interior pages and a sturdy binding.