Henry van de Velde, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
35 x 50 in. (90 x 128 cm)
Ralph Schraivogel (1960-) is one of the most influential figures in contemporary Swiss graphic design. The poster has long been his medium of choice. Schraivogel’s posters are eclectic – for each carefully researched commission he finds a unique and fitting take on the subject matter. He is well known for his highly complex and richly patterned works. Schraivogel’s posters are held in major museums around the world and have been the subject of international exhibitions.
This poster advertises a 1993 exhibition on Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), the Belgian architect and designer known for his Art Nouveau furniture and interiors. Like other Art Nouveau artists, van de Velde based his designs on curving lines, but he was innovative in his use of abstract, linear ornamentation rather than recognizable natural forms.
Schraivogel offers a mesmerizing take on van de Velde’s artistic vision, focusing in on the curved lines of a chair designed by van de Velde in 1897. Claude Lichtenstein, who curated the exhibition at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, wrote about Schraivogel’s design process for the poster, “I have no idea how he managed to draw two sets of lines by hand and to place them on top of each other in such a way that that an interference figure was created that seemed to make the chair materialise in the energy storm of a force field.”
Schraivogel’s allover pattern of reverberating sinuous lines evokes van de Velde’s sumptuous designs for interiors, in which the flowing lines of the furniture carry through the entire construction and decoration of a room.