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One Hundred Years of Zapf

Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann & Gudrum Zapf celebrates the life and art of two of the last century’s most influential designers. Few in the book arts have had as profound an impact as Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. Their careers in the fields of type design and calligraphy are legendary. The arc of their work will be on public view at the Grolier Club in New York from February 20 through April 27, 2019. This centennial exhibition showcases 170 pieces, many of which are being shown for the very first time. A major biography, Hermann Zapf and the World He Designed, by the co-curator Jerry Kelly is published to coincide with the exhibition.

Zapf Manuale Typographicum prototype book by Hermann Zapf

Although Gudrun and Hermann Zapf are perhaps best known for their type design, over the course of their long careers they engaged with nearly every aspect of the book arts. Hermann considered himself a book designer at heart, Gudrun is a noted bookbinder, and both were master calligraphers.

Alphabet Magic is drawn primarily from the two largest Zapf collections in the United States: the private collection of exhibition curator Jerry Kelly—Zapf’s student and friend; and the Zapf Archive at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), headed by exhibition curator Steven Galbraith.

Jerry Kelly has authored a major biography of Hermann Zapf, which will be published to coincide with the exhibition. A printed checklist of all the items in the exhibition will also be available.

In conjunction with the exhibition, several Public Programs are offered: Lunchtime Exhibition Tours: Wednesday, March 13, 1-2 pm, Led by Co-Curator Jerry Kelly Friday, April 12, 1-2 pm, Led by Co-curator Steven Galbraith

Film Alphabet Magic Thursday, February 27, 6–8 pm New York Premier of the film by Alexandra Albrand

Panel discussion Wednesday, March 20, 5:30-8:30 pm Author Robert Bringhurst (Canada), Type Historian Ferdinand Ulrich (Germany), Calligrapher Julian Waters, and Moderator David Pankow (USA).

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