Archive Fever: Saul Bass

By Peggy Roalf   Friday November 2, 2018

When Florian Bachleda took the assignment for designing the DART logo back in 2006, the brief was: We love Saul Bass. Florian came up with the gem of a word mark above and soon went on to helm the creatives at Fast Company.

So it was a thrill to learn that the Saul Bass Archive is now online as part of the Film/Art Gallery site. For more than a decade, Film/Art Gallery has offered one of the finest selections of vintage film posters. Located in the heart of Hollywood, you can find iconic posters for classic films like “Lolita" and “Blow Up” as well unique pieces from the French New Wave Cinema and even poster for the Polish release of “Midnight Cowboy.”

Owner Matthew McCarthy struck a collaboration with Bass’ daughter Jennifer Bass a few years ago, when she was in the process of cataloging the art and ephemera of her father’s 60-year career. McCarthy said, “His film posters were cutting-edge and modern when they first appeared in the 1950s and they remain timelessly effective today. His laser-like focus on distilling the essence of each film to a single image, stripped of extraneous detail and clutter, keeps the work fresh and elegant.”

Bass, who began his career creating hand-pulled silkscreen prints at Krebs Studio in Los Angeles, in the early 1960s. These serigraphs, his original designs, were often modified by the film studios for commercial release; the originals, few in number, were sometimes given away to friends, museums, and clients. “He was incredibly prolific,” said McCarthy, who continued, “Whether it was a company, a filmmaker, a recording artist, or what have you, Saul had an uncanny ability to solve the problem of visually representing or translating ideas, goals, moods, and other intangible, difficult to visualize concepts.”

In addition to his most iconic posters, such as “Anatomy of a Murder,” “The Shining,” and “West Side Story,” you’ll find his work for The Girl Scouts (1978); For a Sane Nuclear Policy (1959); The American Civil Liberties Union (1980s); and more.

“He was of his time—there is an energy, a vigor, and an optimism that was certainly representative of mid-century America—but his work is timeless. He has an immediately recognizable style and yet he was able to work successfully for decades, always bringing his intelligence, wit, and extraordinary instincts to whatever project was at hand.”

Last year Florian joined Godfrey Dadich Partners. So this page is for you, Florian, and thanks again for the DART logo!


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