New Haven: [NY: The Thistle Press for] Holland Roberts Melson Jr, 1958. 8vo (217 x 135 mm; 8½ x 5¼ in.). 94,  pages. Original pictorial boards with a portrait of Lustig on the front cover by Maya Deren; original glassine. A fresh and bright copy, the corners and spine slightly bumped, front joint with a few small splits, glassine with a few chips. Item #403035
SCARCE FIRST EDITION, one of 600 copies. This was the first and only collected edition of Lustig’s writings, published by Elaine Lustig Cohen in memory of her husband who had taught at the School of Art and Architecture at Yale from 1951 to 1954. In his introduction, Philip Johnson highlights Lustig’s diverse talents, not only in typography and book design, but in architecture and public projects. “There was focused in his person a channeling from the great modern painting of Picasso, Matisse, and Mondrian. He focused their teachings into the creation of public symbols which make our surroundings. There is no one to take his place.”
“By the time he died at the age of forty in 1955, [Alvin Lustig] had already introduced principles of Modern art to graphic design that have had a long-term influence on contemporary practice. He was in the vanguard of a relatively small group who fervently, indeed religiously, believed in the curative power of good design when applied to all aspects of American life. He was a generalist, and yet in the specific media in which he excelled he established standards that are viable today. If one were to reconstruct, based on photographs, Lustig’s 1949 exhibition at The Composing Room Gallery in New York, the exhibits on view and the installation would be remarkably fresh, particularly in terms of the current trends in art-based imagery” (Steven Heller, “Born Modern,” in: Eye Magazine 1993, vol. 3, no. 10; and see Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen, Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2010).
Quite uncommon on the market. Designed by Holland Roberts Melson, Jr., set in Monotype Walbaum, and printed on Mohawk Superfine Text by Clarke and Way at the Thistle Press. Binding by Russell-Rutter Company.
The text comprises twelve of Lustig’s statements or essays on craft, including: “Designing, A Process of Teaching”; “Design Program for the University of Georgia”; “Graphic Design”; “Personal Notes on Design”; “Contemporary Book Design”; “The Architectural Review. A Lesson in Typographic Vigor”; “Formal Values in Trademark Design”; “What is a Designer?”; “Experimental Workshop in Graphic Design for Yale University”; “California Modern”; and “On Architecture.” At end are a chronology on Lustig’s life and career; a list of articles about Lustig; and a list of articles written by him. .