Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984

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The artist and graphic designer Herbert Matter was born in Switzerland in 1907. His interest in art started early in life. In the late 1920s he moved to Paris to participate in its active art scene, studying with Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant, and later working for both Adolphe Cassandre and Le Corbusier. During this time his interest in photography and graphic design became fully developed and led to his breakthrough project, the design of travel posters for the Swiss National Tourist Office from 1932 to 1936. After this he moved to the United States and worked as a designer and photographer for many well known publications and companies, such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Knoll, Inc. Matter taught in the graphic design and photography programs at Yale University from 1952 until 1976. His ideas gained wide recognition in the graphic design world through the work of the many top-notch designers who studied at Yale with him. Matter died in the United States in 1984.

From the description of Yale Collection of Herbert Matter, 1928-1991 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702121351

These materials were from the archive of Herbert Matter (M1446) but were removed by the manuscripts processor as being a separate collection.

From the description of R. Buckminster Fuller materials from Herbert Matter, circa 1960-1969 and undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754865972

Herbert Matter (b. April 25, 1907, Switzerland-d. May 8, 1984), Swiss-born American photographer and graphic designer known for his pioneering use of photomontage in commercial art.

From the description of Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10572842

Biography / Administrative History

R. Buckminster Fuller conceived the World Game as an interactive role-playing experience that would teach participants to organize, revitalize and distribute depleted world resources. Relying on computers to provide raw data, players work non-competitively to allocate the earth?s natural capital worldwide, scoring points through efficient management. If cooperation degenerates into competition, the first step towards war, the game is lost. This archive documents the preparations for and execution of the inaugural World Game at the New York Studio School in 1969, which became a prototypical rehearsal for its 1971 appearance at the University of Southern Illinois. Born in Engelberg, Switzerland, Herbert Matter is best known for his international contributions in photography, photomontage, and graphic design work. Matter was also a filmmaker, exhibition designer, and professor. He came to the United States in 1936 and began work as a freelance photographer for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and created displays for the Swiss and Corning Glass Pavilions for the 1939 World's Fair. He also directed, filmed, and edited Works of Calder in 1950 for the Museum of Modern Art, the first color film to show Alexander Calder's sculptures. While maintaining countless assignments, he introduced the first photography classes offered at Yale University where he taught until 1976. In 1943, Herbert married Mercedes de Cordoba and in 1964 she founded the New York Studio School of Painting and Sculpture (the Studio School). When the 1967 Montreal World?s Fair rejected R. Buckminster Fuller?s proposal to have the World Game played at the fair, Herbert and Mercedes offered to host him at the Studio School and offered the school?s student population for the inaugural World Game. Other related collections at Stanford University researchers should investigate would be the R. Buckminster Fuller papers (M1090) and the Herbert Matter papers (M1446).

From the guide to the Buckminster Fuller's World Game: archive of original graphic art, film, video and audio media, manuscript material, and correspondence, from the files of Herbert and Mercedes Matter, ca. 1965-1980, 1965-1980, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biography / Administrative History

Born in the resort village of Engelberg, Switzerland, Herbert Matter is best known for his international contributions in photography, photomontage, and graphic design work. Matter was also a filmmaker, exhibition designer, and professor. He photographed a wide range of subjects in art, advertising, and fashion. His constant experimenting lead to ongoing refinements in composition, typography, and a variety of printing techniques.

Matter initially studied painting at the Ëcole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and then at the Académie Moderne in Paris as a student of Fernand Léger, and Amédée Ozenfant.

He came to the United States in 1936 and began work as a freelance photographer for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and created displays for the Swiss and Corning Glass Pavilions for the 1939 World's Fair.

Over the course of his career Matter worked with Charles Eames, did photography, photomontage, and covers for Arts and Architecture magazine, and served as the design and advertising consultant for Knoll creating the company's award winning graphics, layout, and photography.

He also directed, filmed, and edited Works of Calder in 1950 for the Museum of Modern Art, the first color film to show Alexander Calder's sculptures. While maintaining countless assignments, he introduced the first photography classes offered at Yale University where he taught until 1976.

Matter's most personal artistic endeavor was his extensive photography of the work of sculpture Alberto Giacometti. These photographs from the 1960s and 1970s were published in his book Alberto Giacometti. Matter worked on the book up to the time of his death; it was published posthumously in 1987.

From the guide to the Herbert Matter papers, ca. 1937-1984, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

The artist and graphic designer Herbert Matter was born in Switzerland in 1907. His interest in art started early in life. In the late 1920s he moved to Paris to participate in its active art scene, studying with Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant, and later working for both Adolphe Cassandre and Le Corbusier. During this time his interest in photography and graphic design became fully developed and led to his breakthrough project, the design of travel posters for the Swiss National Tourist Office from 1932 to 1936. After this he moved to the United States and worked as a designer and photographer for many well known publications and companies, such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Knoll, Inc. Matter taught in the graphic design and photography programs at Yale University from 1952 until 1976. His ideas gained wide recognition in the graphic design world through the work of the many top-notch designers who studied at Yale with him. Matter died in the United States in 1984.

Herbert Matter was born in Engelberg, Switzerland, on April 25, 1907. He was encouraged by his family to pursue his artistic interests, which were apparent early in his life. The Matter family owned a dance hall and restaurant where they hung Matter's early paintings.

In the late 1920s Matter moved to Paris to be a part of the active art scene there. He studied with the painters Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. He also assisted the graphic designer Adolphe Cassandre and the architect Le Corbusier. During his time in Paris, Matter started to move away from painting toward the graphic arts, especially photography, and he became a master of photomontage. Matter used this technique to great effect in several travel posters created between 1932 and 1936 for the Swiss National Tourist Office. This work established his reputation as a prominent and successful graphic designer.

Matter moved to New York City in 1936. He worked as photographer and designer for such magazines as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue and for lesser known, but more cutting edge, publications like New Pencil Points . He also designed publications for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, as well as logos, publications, and advertising materials for many companies, most notably the New Haven Railroad and Knoll, Inc.

In 1952 Matter joined the faculty of the graphic design and photography programs at Yale University, where he taught until 1976. Matter was also involved with the New York Studio School, which his wife founded. As the Yale graduate program produced many successful designers, Matter's ideas became widespread in the graphic design world. Students remember Matter fondly and were greatly influenced by his teachings.

Matter died in Southampton, New York, on May 8, 1984.

From the guide to the Yale Collection of Herbert Matter, 1928-1991, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Buckminster Fuller's World Game : film, video and audio media, circa 1968-1980. Stanford University Libraries
referencedIn Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). The Graphic designs of Herbert Matter. 1991 : Archives pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984. Yale Collection of Herbert Matter, 1928-1991 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Herbert Matter papers, ca. 1937-1984 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984. R. Buckminster Fuller materials from Herbert Matter, circa 1960-1969 and undated. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Cage, John. Music for the film Works of Calder / [John Cage]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Matter, Herbert, 1907-1984. Herbert Matter papers, circa 1937-1984. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Original Artwork for World War II Posters. 1942 - 1945. America Calling. CD [Civil Defense] - (Not used.) [Herbert Matter]
creatorOf Matter, Herbert. Matter, Herbert : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Buckminster Fuller's World Game: archive of original graphic art, film, video and audio media, manuscript material, and correspondence, from the files of Herbert and Mercedes Matter, ca. 1965-1980, 1965-1980 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn R. Buckminster Fuller papers, ca. 1920-1983 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Motherwell, Robert,. UNESCO Conference, New York, 1951 : the American artist, 1951. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Cage, John. Calder / John Cage. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Yale Collection of Herbert Matter, 1928-1991 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Pierre Matisse Gallery records, 1925-1989. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf MATTER, HERBERT. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf First Art Film Festival in America (1951 : Woodstock, N.Y.). First Art Film Festival in America symposium : sound recordings, 1951 Sept. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Matter, Herbert, 1906-1984 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James Johnson Sweeney subject files, 1961-1968. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983. Buckminster Fuller's World Game : archive of original graphic art, film, video and audio media, manuscript material, and correspondence, from the files of Herbert and Mercedes Matter, circa 1965-1980. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
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associatedWith Matter, Alex. person
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associatedWith Matter, Mercedes, 1913-2001. person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
Sculpture, Modern
Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.)
Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.)
Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais, Brazil)
Grosse Pointe (Mich.). Library.
Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
United States
Subject
Sculpture, Modern--20th century
Art, Modern--20th century
Design
Art, Modern--Switzerland
Photography, Artistic
Art, Swiss
Civil defense
Technology--Social aspects
Furniture--United States--History
Furniture--History
African American dance
Yale University
Graphic arts
New York World's Fair (1939-1940)
Dance
Occupation
Collector
Book designers
Photographers
Function

Person

Birth 1907-04-25

Death 1984-05-08

Americans

English

Information

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