December feels like the right time to dissolve into a 50s-era ski resort scene. Agree? If so, say hello to our newest Vintage Edition, befitting snow angels, ski bums, and fireside lodge loungers alike. This crisp, ice blue graphic comes from a 1957 promotional poster designed by Austrian-American artist, Bauhaus alum, and bonafide polymath Herbert Bayer. Have a snow sports lover on your holiday list? Join NSA, National Ski Association makes gifting easier than a green circle, chairlift not required.
But before we suit up and hit the slopes, an important holiday programming note: We’re schussing into our unframed art order deadline! If you’re hoping to have giftable art in hand by 12/24, make your move by 3:00pm ET today, Tuesday 12/10 for guaranteed on-time arrival. That means you've got just a few hours left. And if you're feeling stumped re: what to give, our Gift Guide’s here with reinforcements.
Today's edition, perfect for the alpine aficionados in your life, isn't just a compelling summons to the summit. Join NSA, National Ski Association characterizes so much of what made Bayer’s work a perfect fit for building Aspen’s new (at the time) reputation. Tapping into his Bauhaus background, Bayer used clean, stylized strokes and just four primary colors—red, black, white and blue. Thick, curved lines starkly break up the solid blue space. The layout pushes the edge of expectation, with the most active visual elements toward the bottom of the frame. Forms are simplified, the skiers floating against a flat blue backdrop. This is about elegance, the sophistication of a downhill ski, the satisfying clarity of racing on a freshly groomed run. Skiing in Aspen, this design seems to say, is refreshingly modern—the most glamorous of snowy getaways. This Aspen has cool factor, in more ways than one.
In 1946, Bayer moved to Aspen, Colorado at the request of industrialist and ideas man Walter P. Paepcke, whom Bayer met a year earlier. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Paepcke saw Aspen’s commercial potential and Bayer’s brilliance, offering Bayer the job of Design Consultant for Aspen Development. Together, they’d be instrumental figures in the transformation of the quiet mining town into an international ski and outdoor recreation destination—and pivotal in popularizing the sport of skiing in general. Because of his myriad architectural and branding projects in the area, Bayer himself is known for having created Aspen’s aesthetic and its image as an aspirational resort town.
Bayer was a textbook renaissance man, inarguably talented and innovative across an extraordinary range of art and design disciplines—painting, photography, architecture, sculpture, exhibition and interior design, typography and font design. After enrolling in Germany’s prestigious Bauhaus school in 1921, he studied—and flourished—under the guidance of some of the pre-eminent artists of his time, Kandinsky, Klee, and Moholy-Nagy among them. The school’s founder, famed architect Walter Gropius, later appointed Bayer Director of Printing and Advertising. Over the course of the next few years, Bayer honed his reductive minimalist style and developed an experimental, all-lowercase, sans serif Universal Type that remains an influential force in the design and typography world to this day. (ABC television network and Beats Electronics logos were both influenced by Bayer’s universal font, for instance.)
He left the Bauhaus in 1928 to accept a position as Art Director director of Vogue Berlin. In 1938, the annexation of Austria into Germany spurred his decision to emigrate and eventually resettle in The States. Turns out that was a smart move for more than one reason—Bayer enjoyed a successful and enduring career in his new home, becoming a key player in the introduction of European aesthetic ideas to the U.S. Tap into his legacy of incredible design when you collect Join NSA, National Ski Association. Or just stare at it while sipping some cocoa and imagine you’re Lindsey Vonn—you can do whatever you want when it’s hanging chez vous.
With art for everyone,