Herbert Bayer  (Austrian, 1900-1985) 

Herbert Bayer (Austrian, April 5, 1900–September 30, 1985) was a well-known graphic designer, painter, and sculptor. He lived in Germany during his early life, and studied under Georg Schmidthammer in Linz. Bayer studied at the Weimar Bauhaus, a prominent art school, from 1921 to 1923. While there, he learned how to paint murals. Bayer was most recognized for his experiments in typography, which he discovered while studying at the Bauhaus.

The artist took inspiration from the Minimalist movement when creating his uppercase/lowercase single typeface, called the Universal alphabet. At the time, it was never cast as a physical typeface, but it is distributed digitally today. Bayer taught layout, typography, and advertising at the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1928. Bayer set up operations in Berlin, where he lived and worked until 1938 as the manager of Vogue. He also worked as the Dorland advertising agency director. Bayer is well-known for his work in advertisement and his paintings of abstract natural forms. The inclusion of his art in the Nazi propaganda exhibition, Degenerate Art, and the repression of the Third Reich caused him to emigrate from Germany.

Some of Bayer's most representative works include Shadow on the Steps, Colorado, and Hands Act. Shadow on the Steps is a painting that focuses on abstract geometric shapes formed by shadows, as opposed to having any narrative content. True to the Minimalist style, Bayer preferred most of his works to be free of any narrative. Colorado is a mural that he worked on from 1948 to 1967; the piece depicts the mountainous landscape that made up Colorado. Hands Act, meanwhile, is an early photomontage created of photographs of human hands and organized in a pattern. Bayer did most of his early work as photomontage but later focused on painting and sculpting. He used his knowledge of geometric shape integration to created aesthetically pleasing designs for contemporary advertisement. Although some of his critics may have thought of this as selling out, Bayer believed, due to his training at the Bauhaus, that all forms of artistic expression—painting, architecture, and sculpture—should exist together as one art form. The artist died on September 30, 1985.

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Herbert Bayer, Three Quarter Square


Herbert Bayer
Three Quarter Square

Herbert Bayer, Geometric Scheme II


Herbert Bayer
Geometric Scheme II

Peyton Wright Gallery
Herbert Bayer, Standing Curve


Herbert Bayer
Standing Curve
Thurston Royce Gallery of Fine Art, LTD.
Herbert Bayer, 10A


Herbert Bayer

Peyton Wright Gallery
Herbert Bayer, Untitled 5


Herbert Bayer
Untitled 5

Herbert Bayer, Capili


Herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer, The Four Seasons


Herbert Bayer
The Four Seasons

Herbert Bayer, Untitled


Herbert Bayer

Michael Berger Gallery
Herbert Bayer, Untitled 6


Herbert Bayer
Untitled 6

Past auction results (613)  View All
Herbert Bayer, Untitled (Photocollage)


Herbert Bayer
Untitled (Photocollage), 1929
gelatin silver print


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Herbert Bayer, Two Curves with Warm Progressions


Herbert Bayer
Two Curves with Warm Progressions, 1977
hand-knotted synthetic fiber


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Herbert Bayer, Teppich Regenbogen


Herbert Bayer
Teppich Regenbogen, 1976
wool carpet


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1900   Born in Haag am Haustruck, Austria
1921 - 1923   Attended Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany; studied mural painting under Kandinsky
1938   Emigrated to NYC
1985   Died in Montecito, California
1977 - 1978   From Type to Landscape, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College (4 Museums) Hanover, NH
1977 - 1978   Photographic Works, ARCO Center for Visual Art (12 Museums) Los Angeles, CA
1974 - 1978   Das Druckgrafische Werk bis 1971, Haus Deutscher Ring (10 Museums) Hamburg, Germany
1973   Fotografien. Fotomontagen. 1926-1937, Landesbildstelle Hamburg, Germany
1962 - 1963   Paintings, Architecture, Graphics, Stadtisches Kunstmuseum Duisberg
1956 - 1957   33 Jahres Seines Schaffens, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg, Germany
1947 - 1949   The Way Beyond Art, Brown University Providence, RI
1931   , Bauhaus Dessau, Germany
   Bayer, Herbert. Herbert Bayer: Visual Communication Architecture Painting. New York, NY: Reinhold, Publishing, 1967
   Bayer, Herbert, ed. World Geo-Graphic Atlas. Chicago, IL: Container Corporation of America, 1953
   Chanzit, Gwen. From Bauhaus to Aspen: Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America. Boulder, CO: Johnson Books and the Denver Art Museum
   Chanzit, Gwen. The Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive at the Denver Art Museum. Denver, CO: Denver Art Museum, 1980
   Chanzit, Gwen, and Vanderlip, Dianne. The Herbert Bayer Archive Inaugural Exhibition. Denver, CO: Denver Art Museum, 1980
   Cohen, Arthur Allen. Herbert Bayer: the complete work. Cambridge: MIT Press. 1984.
   Dorner, Alexander. The Way Beyond “Art” – The Work of Herbert Bayer. New York, NY: Wittenborn, 1947
   Gebhard, David. Herbert Bayer. Chicago, IL: Container Corporation of America, 1965
   Herbert Bayer: A Total Concept. Denver, CO: Denver Art Museum, 1973
   Herbert Bayer: Kunst und Design in amerika 1938-1985. Berlin: Bauhaus Archiv, 1986