Mayerle originally created his Eye Test Chart as a two-sided optical tool in 1907 with the positive version on one side and the negative version on the reverse. The chart combines turn-of-the-century typography, diagnostic necessity, soothingly symmetrical design, and a progressive embrace of an ever-changing ethnic mosaic. While the image is beautifully balanced, it’s also intensely complex, each section, quadrant, and character equally capable of drawing the eye in. It’s a definite conversation starter, a journey that leads to new little discoveries the longer you look. The pictorial, centermost panel is almost hieroglyphic-like at first glance, giving off the air of some sort of aesthetically appealing Rosetta Stone. But what’s really at work here is ingeniously intelligible and perfectly pragmatic.
Combining four of the major tests commonly performed during eye exams, the Eye Test Chart took an integrated, multicultural approach to sight assessment. The seven vertical panels that make up most of the image represent six writing systems—two styles of the Roman alphabet for English and European readers, along with Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Hebrew characters. Mayerle also included a center panel of non-alphabetic images and symbols for the illiterate, or those unable to read any of the writing systems on display. These panels tested visual acuity. Directly above them at center is a radiant dial, used to test for astigmatism, flanked by four sets of encircled lines to measure the muscular strength of the eyes. At the bottom of the Eye Test Chart, six color swatches gauged color vision, something particularly appealing to the significant number of railway and steamboat workers in the San Francisco area who’d be guided by red and green lights.
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches and maximum of 2.5” to allow for framing.
8"x10" | edition of 10
11"x14" | edition of 250
16"x20" | edition of 25
24"x30" | edition of 10