ARTS | Book design

Background

Best known as the only American artist to participate in the two landmark exhibitions of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in 1911 and 1912, Albert Bloch achieved prominence in both Europe and the United States as a modern artist in the 1910s. Following a large 1921 solo exhibition in New York, however, Bloch retreated from the commercial art world and spent the later decades of his career quietly in Lawrence, Kansas, where he taught at the University of Kansas between 1923 and 1947. Relatively little known in the decades after his death, Bloch was rediscovered in the late 1980s and 1990s by scholars, curators, and the art market; he is now recognized as an important 20th-century American artist.

Challenge

This exhibition catalog was tasked with doing justice to the incredible body of work on display—much of it produced during Bloch's time in Lawrence—yet, never before seen in Lawrence (or anywhere else) before the show in 2015.

Solution

The 132-page book was a local effort with strong ties to the neighborhood Bloch lived and worked in: Curated and organized by the Lawrence Arts Center and David Cateforis, a professor at KU; designed in my studio, which is a short walk from the Bloch house and arts center; and printed by Allen Press, five blocks east.

None of it would have possible without the steady hand of Bloch's wife, Anna Francis, who spent the decades after her husband's death preserving his works and promoting his legacy. Sadly, she died in 2014, shortly before this show opened.

Art direction and design // Chris Ralston