Friday, 5 January 2018

Elizabeth Friedlander

I was recently introduced to the work of the artist, designer and typographer, Elizabeth Friedlander.

Friedlander was a Jew, born in Germany in 1903 who studied typography and calligraphy. She designed headings and lay-outs for Die Dame that were published by Ullstein. It was this magazine work that impressed Georg Hartmann of the Bauer Type Foundry in Frankfurt and led him to invite her to design a typeface.

The typeface was initially called Friedlander-Antiqua, but became known as Elisabeth- Antiqua since Friedlander was a recognisably Jewish name, and this would be inadvisable in the current political condition as Hitler had just come to power.

The anti-Semitic laws that were introduced in Germany meant that, as a Jew, Friedlander was refused the permit required for her to continue to work in Germany. She moved to Italy where she was able to work on the condition that she was not politically active. When severe Italian Antisemitic Laws were introduced Friedlander had to flee and so she obtained a Domestic Service permit for Britain. After a period of working as a domestic servant, she got work in the design field.

"By 1942 she was in charge of design at Ellic Howe's black propaganda unit, where she produced forged Wehrmacht and Nazi rubber stamps, false ration books, and so on, while at the same time carrying out freelance commissions."

Once she had decided to settle long-term in Britain, she worked on the series Britain in Pictures, produced patterned papers for Curwen and Penguin Books, created decorative borders for Linotype and calligraphy for the Roll of Honour at Sandhurst. She was responsible for many of the designs of post-war Penguin Books.

The current exhibition at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft presents the story of the work of Friedlander. The show includes rarely-seen works from the artist’s compelling career including type design, wood engravings, decorative book papers, maps and commercial work.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for article, but your link to Georg Hartmann is the wrong one.