21-02-2019
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Museum Meermanno www.meermanno.nl

Helmut Salden, lettering artist and book designer

By 21-02-2019

Helmut Salden is the designer of whom probably everyone has a cover in the bookcase. The most famous ones were the ones Salden made for the Russian Libraryof Publishing House Van Oorschot. Apart from original typefaces, more than hundred award-winning books, designs for book covers and monograms, the exhibition also contains many letters to authors and publishers, including W.F. Hermans, Iris Murdoch and G.A. van Oorschot and colleagues such as Gerrit Noordzij, Jan Tschichold and Hermann Zapf.

An eventful life
Helmut Salden (Essen 1910 – Amsterdam 1996) studied at the Folkwangschule in Essen, also known as the ‘Bauhaus of the West’. In 1931 he became a teacher of photography at this institute. He was dismissed in 1933 because of his aversion of the Nazi party. In 1934 he fled and in 1938 he eventually came to the Netherlands via the writer Hendrik Marsman. After having worked for Piet Zwart for a short time, Salden started as a designer of book covers for, among others, the well-known publisher A.A.M. Stols. In 1942 he was arrested and sentenced to death in 1943. After his sentence was converted into imprisonment, he spent the rest of the war in a number of prisons and concentration camps. In 1946 he returned to the Netherlands, where he became a very productive book designer. In the more than fifty years of his career, he worked for more than seventy publishers at home in the Netherlands and abroad.

Exhibition ‘Helmut Salden (1910–1996). Lettering artist and book designer’
Huis van het boek | Museum Meermanno
Prinsessegracht 30, The Hague
Until March 24, 2019
www.meermanno.nl

Portrait photo: Helmut Salden by Arenda Oomen (1994)
Photos exhibition: Anke Broeren.