Post 11, Kay : 1950’s Lester Beall

Posted: June 4, 2012 by kaybeebaby1 in Uncategorized

In 1939 appeared an article in the German magazine Gebrauschsgraphik:  “Lester Beall is the typical representative of those definitely intellectual artists whose creative work is based less upon spontaneity than upon reflection.  His work displays an almost mathematical accuracy and architectonic clarity:  one feels in looking at it that it has been executed with careful consideration and with a feeling of responsibility.  Further, it reveals a perfect command of the typographical medium and an unerring feeling for the proper arrangement of surfaces.  It also betrays the obvious desire to express with the simplest possible means easily comprehended impressions of striking forcefulness.”

Beall worked in New York City until 1951, designing a prodigious range of material in all forms of graphic communication—packages, ads, booklets, corporate identity problems, and exhibitions. After 1951, acknowledging that “the creative atmosphere is not the same for all men,” Beall sought the tranquility of his home and farm in Connecticut, fearful, one suspects, that he would fall victim to the very dangers he cautioned against. This was neither retirement nor isolation, for Beall established his complete design studio in this new environment. He did, as he said at the time, “learn to see rather than just look at things. This is a never-ending process which the dedicated artist must teach himself.” Removing himself from the swirling turbulence of New York did not lessen Beall’s inventiveness or his productivity. He continued to create and design with his customary urbanity and insight. Some of his lasting achievements in corporate design were for Chance Vought, International Paper, and Western Gypsum. Fulfilling his own adage, “The very way a man lives is directly akin to his work,” he remained a maverick until his untimely death in 1969 at the age of sixty-six.

Lester was also art director and designer for “Scope,” the chemical and pharmaceutical advertising periodical published by the Upjohn Co.  He began this series early in 1944 with the March issue and continued the project through May 195l.

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