Alexei Brodowitsch

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Alexei Brodowitsch ( Russian Алексей Бродович ; * 1898 in Ogolitschi , today Belarus ; † April 15, 1971 in Le Thor , France ) was an American graphic designer of Russian origin.


Brodowitsch emigrated from Soviet Russia to Paris in 1920 , where he a. a. Designed sets for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes . As a trained book designer , he created layouts for Arts et Metiers Graphics and Cahiers d'Art and worked as a poster and exhibition designer from 1926 to 1930. In 1930 he moved to the United States , initially to Philadelphia , where he founded an advertising design class at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art.

In 1934 he moved to New York. There he worked as art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar until 1958 . In his aegis he developed the specific style of this magazine, a razor-sharp typography that leaves a lot of open space in connection with European art and photography, among others by Martin Munkacsi , Man Ray , Henri Cartier-Bresson , AM Cassandre , Salvador Dalí , Herbert Bayer and later Richard Avedon - a revolution in magazine design. Proof?

In 1945 he brought out his own book, Ballet, with experimental stage photography, which at the time represented an affront to all established values ​​in photography. He took the pictures between 1935 and '37 with a 35mm camera without a tripod and without the help of additional light ( Available Light ), so that blurring, blurring of movements ( blur ) and "burnt out", appearing as white blanks, are over-radiated by the stage lights Shaped image style. The supposed technical inadequacies, high contrast and coarse film grain , were also increased by Brodowitsch through development , enlargement of sections and high-contrast paper. The layout of full-page images that corresponded to their counterparts ultimately created a cinematic effect. " Ballet is one of the most successful attempts to express movement in photography and certainly one of the most cinematographic and dynamic photo books that have ever been published."

Before that, in 1941, Brodowitsch was able to set up a “design laboratory” at the New School for Social Research. There he became a teacher a. a. by Louis Faurer , Lillian Bassman , Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon . Due to illness, he stopped teaching in 1966 and returned to France the following year. He died in 1971 in Le Thor, southern France.

In 1972 Brodowitsch was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Art Directors Club .

Teaching activities

Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art (1930-1934), Cooper Union New York (1940), Pratt Institute (1940), New School for Social Research (1941-1949), American Institute of Graphic Arts (1964), School of Visual Arts (1964–1965)


  • Kerry William Purcell: Alexey Brodovitch , Phaidon Press, Berlin 2002, ISBN 978-0-7148-4163-2 .
  • Andy Grundberg: Brodovitch , HN Abrams, 1989.

Web links

Commons : Alexey Brodovitch  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Parr, Gerry Batcher: The Photobook, A History Vol. 1, Phaidon, London 2004, ISBN 0-7148-4285-0 , p. 241. Translation from English by me. - In the book, eighteen double pages from Ballet are shown reduced (p. 240f).
  2. 1972 Hall of Fame , The Art Directors Club