Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Matthew Leibowitz, A Legendary Modernist

Matthew Leibowitz, A Legendary Modernist


Matthew Leibowitz, Dada.

PHILADELPHIA.- An exhibition of graphic design and paintings by the late Matthew Leibowitz, a legendary figure in the world of graphic design, will be on display at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (Broad and Pine Streets) from February 15-March 18, 2007.

The exhibition Matthew Leibowitz, A Legendary Modernist is part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the graphic design program at The University of the Arts (www,uartsgd.com/GD40/). Many of Leibowitz’s design graphics are familiar corporate classics. His paintings are mostly private works and several will be on public display for the first time in this exhibition. All works are on loan from Leibowitz’s daughters, Lynn Leibowitz and Jan Bresnick. Many are available for purchase, with a percentage of sales going to support programs at the UArts College of Art and Design.

One of the school’s most distinguished alumni, Leibowitz attended evening classes at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art (now UArts) in the 1930s, studying under Raymond Ballinger. During the day, he worked in a design studio and also picked up independent art work. He was an apprentice to poster art master A.M. Cassandre in Paris in the summers and worked as an art director for a Philadelphia advertising agency before setting up as a freelance advertising artist.

Leibowitz was known for being fast yet meticulous, enthusiastic but always a perfectionist. From 1942, he art directed and consulted for numerous firms including IBM, RCA Victor, Sharp and Dohme, Spalding, Container Corporation of America, Phillip Morris, Olivetti, Gulf+Western, General Electric, N.W. Ayer and Son, International Red Cross and others. One of his best-known designs is the trademark for ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph), which he originally sketched on the back of an envelope on a train returning home to Philadelphia from New York. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Denver Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Musée National d'Art, Paris. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and widely honored, Leibowitz received 163 gold medals and many other awards for his designs, posters, and abstract art work. A resident of Philadelphia and Rydal, Pa., he died in 1974 at the age of 57.


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