Lucian Bernhard’s Other Style

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Wilhelm Junk was an author and independent bookseller in Germany who specialized in bibliographies, entomology and botany. He entertained the most complete stock of rare plants. He was the bibliographer of work about the Swedish botanist Karl v. Linné, including Linnaeus’ Species Plantarum, editio princeps and its variants with description of a new (1907). So what does this have to do with Lucian Bernhard?

Plenty. I presume anybody reading this column knows Bernhard, the “form-giver” of the Sachplakat (Object Poster) genre of the Berliner Plakat circle.


My Alpine Trip (1905) is Junk’s lengthy poem about a comic journey through the Alps, illustrated by Lucian Bernhard, with cover and three lithographs presumably one year prior to his triumph with the seminal Sachplakat, the Priester match poster. For this book his style is considerably more detailed, suggesting the influence of Simplicissimus, the graphic satiric journal that launched in 1896 with a Jugendstil style.

If the publication date is correct, these lithos may be among Bernhard’s earliest professional work, before he learned the sublime art of reduction.


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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →