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Herbert Matter

Biographies
Herbert Matter

*  1907 Engelberg
† 1984 Southampton


Herbert Matter, Swiss graphic designer and photographer, was born in Engelberg, Switzerland, in 1907. He studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva from 1925 until 1927. Then Herbert Matter went to Paris to continue his studies at the Académie de l'Art Moderne in 1928/29. His teachers included Fernand Léger and Amédé Ozenfant. Between 1929 and 1932 Herbert Matter freelanced in Paris as a graphic artist and photographer and worked for the Deberny & Peignot type foundry. From 1930 until 1932 Herbert Matter worked for the journal "Arts et Métiers Graphiques". In Paris Herbert Matter met A.M. Cassandre, with whom he collaborated on designing several posters. In 1932 Herbert Matter returned to Switzerland. Herbert Matter is generally regarded as the inventor of the modern Swiss photographic poster. In the early 1930s Matter convincingly integrated the medium of photography in what had up to then been advertizing drawn by hand. For the Swiss Tourist Office Herbert Matter designed tourism posters that are still famous. In 1936 Herbert Matter emigrated to the US. In New York Herbert Matter worked as a photographer for "Vogue", "Harper's Baazar", and "Town and Country" magazines. During the second world war, Herbert Matter was commissioned by the US government to design propaganda posters. Between 1943 and 1946, Herbert Matter worked as a graphic designer in the California practice of Ray and Charles Eames. The 1940s also saw Herbert Matter collaborating with Knoll International, for whom he designed the logo with the big K as well as numerous catalogues and advertisements.