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Photograph - Shortly Before Dawn
  • Shortly Before Dawn
    Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985
  • Enlarge image

Shortly Before Dawn

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1936-1939 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (photographer)
    Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    printer's ink, paper, photomontage, photography

  • Credit Line:

    Acquired from Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London in 1968.

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.739-1968

  • Gallery location:

    Photography Centre, Room 100, The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery, case EAST WALL

Bayer had a varied and influential career as a designer, painter, photographer, sculptor, art director and architect. He taught at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany, and later took an interest in photomontage, both in his artistic work and advertising. Using this process, he combined his photographs with found imagery, producing surreal or dreamlike pictures.

Physical description

Photomontage dreamscape featuring objects that vary in shape: from amorphous to natural to geometric

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

ca. 1936-1939 (made)

Artist/maker

Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (photographer)
Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

printer's ink, paper, photomontage, photography

Marks and inscriptions

1/40 Bayer
bottom left of print

Herbert Bayer 1936/9
Bottom right of print

Dimensions

Height: 294 mm image goes to edge of sheet, Width: 386 mm image goes to edge of sheet, Height: 12.5 in, Width: 10.5 in

Historical context note

Herbert Bayer was one of the leading figures in the Bauhaus movement in Germany and throughout his career was a highly influential graphic designer and artist. Bayer began to experiment with photography while he was teaching advertising, typography and layout at the Bauhaus school in Dessau. He produced some straight photographs, highlighting the abstract structures and sculptural qualities of things, but was never interested in the technical side of photography and so his exploration of straight photography was limited. He left the Bauhaus in 1928 and established himself as a leading designer. It was at this stage that he took and interest in photomontage. He used the technique for his own artistic work but also in advertising work, where he was partly responsible for establishing photomontage as a key commercial visual style in the 1930s. His main body of photographic work was produced in the late 1920s and the 1930s, after which he continued to develop other areas of visual design.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Herbert Bayer, 'Shortly Before Dawn', 1932-9, gelatin silver print

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wood, Ghislaine, ed. Surreal Things. Surrealism and Design London : V&A Publications, 2007. 362 p. : col. Ill. ISBN: 978 1 85177 500 2 (HBK) 978 1 85177 501 9 (PBK)
Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1968

Labels and date

Photography Centre 2018-20:

Herbert Bayer (1900–1985)
Shortly Before Dawn
1932–39

Bayer had a varied and influential career as a designer, painter, photographer, sculptor, art director and architect. He taught at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany, and later took an interest in photomontage, both in his artistic work and advertising. Using this process, he combined his photographs with found imagery, producing surreal or dreamlike pictures.

Gelatin silver print, printed 1968
Museum no. CIRC.739-1968

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Materials

Printer's ink; Paper

Techniques

Photography

Subjects depicted

Branch; Bone

Categories

Photographs; Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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