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proof - die neue linie [cover proof]
  • die neue linie [cover proof]
    Moholy-Nagy, László, born 1895 - died 1946
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die neue linie [cover proof]

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Leipzig (city) (printed)

  • Date:

    1929 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Moholy-Nagy, László, born 1895 - died 1946 (designer)
    Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (designer)
    Otto Beyer Verlag (publisher)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

1 sheet comprising a proof of a colour photo-montage
Collated 20130304 Complete

Place of Origin

Leipzig (city) (printed)


1929 (printed)


Moholy-Nagy, László, born 1895 - died 1946 (designer)
Bayer, Herbert, born 1900 - died 1985 (designer)
Otto Beyer Verlag (publisher)


Height: 366 mm, Width: 265 mm, Thickness: 1.5 mm

Object history note

The Jobbing Printing Collection, a collection of ephemera held in the National Art Library (NAL) at the V&A, was developed between 1936 and 1939, when Philip James (then Deputy Keeper at the NAL) requested samples of work from high-profile companies and designers across Britain, Europe and North America. Possibly responding to an article by Beatrice Warde describing an imaginary box of ‘jobs’ that would “display noteworthy new developments in printing”, James’ intention was to create an “open reference collection of commercial typography" and "to exhibit contemporary specimens from time to time so that the trend of typographic design, both in this country and abroad, could be appraised by students of industrial art". It comprises over 6,000 items ranging from handbills to typeface specimen sheets, lettering artwork to colour proofs and brochures. Donors included the companies commissioning and issuing work: significantly the Bauhaus; BBC; GPO and Shell-Mex, but also - among others - Bamberger & Hertz; Embru; Fortnum & Mason and United States Gypsum; as well as advertising agencies like Crawfords and Draeger. Work was also received from printers such as Gebruder Fretz and Hague & Gill, and type foundries like Bauersche Giesserei and Deberny Peignot. The list of individual designers who responded to James’ request included Havinden; Moholy-Nagy; Sutnar and Tschischold. Categories of material include architecture, broadcasting, costume, interior design, motor industry, food and drink. The bulk of the collection consists of examples from the 1930s, especially 1936 - 1939, with a few items from the 1940s.

The collection is supplemented with material from the 1960s which the Library inherited from the Circulation Department of the Museum after its closure in 1978. The two groups of material stand as historic collections in their own right: the Jobbing Printing Collection is designated a 'closed collection'.

Descriptive line

Proof of the cover to the first issue of die neue linie (September 1929), designed by Moholy-Nagy

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

Rossler, Patrick. The Bauhaus at the newsstand = Das Bauhaus am Kiosk : die Neue Linie 1929-1943 (Bielefeld : Kerber Art ; New York : Distributed Art Publishers, 2009). NAL barcode: 38041017029596
Hibbard, Ruth and Sutherland, Deborah "Promoting commercial art: the initiative of 1936" in Word & image : art, books and design from the National Art Library (London : V & A Publishing, 2015). NAL barcode: 38041014050967
Exhibited in NAL touring exhibition 'Inspiration by Design: Word and Image from the National Art Library at the V&A', State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 20 March 2015-14 June 2015 and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 8 July 2015-27 Sept. 2015.
After the economic crash of 1929–30, commercial graphics were considered a major tool in efforts to stimulate consumption and revive the world economy.
In 1936, the Library devised a project to extend its considerable collection of commercial graphics. It solicited samples of work from significant designers throughout Europe and America to create an ‘open reference collection [representing] the trend of typographic design, both in [Britain] and abroad’ for the benefit of students. The idea that graphic art was essential both in business and in shaping consumer taste recalls some of the founding principles of the Museum.
A small exhibition, Modern Commercial Typography, publicised the collection. Current but traditional work was displayed next to material that showed the influence of progressive developments in architecture and photography. Simplicity was valued over ornamental detail and typography given a dramatic role. Included in the exhibition were examples of new techniques such as airbrushing and photomontage.
Exhibited in 'The new line: works from the Jobbing Printing Collection’ held at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, 10 December 2016 to 12 March 2017
This exhibition of commercial print from the 1930s includes material designed by Serge Chermayeff, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Graham Sutherland and László Moholy-Nagy, alongside films by Len Lye commissioned by the General Post Office Film Unit and Churchman Cigarettes.
Europe in the 1930s underwent enormous social, political, cultural and technological change. To capture some of these changes through contemporary commercial print, Philip James at the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum developed the ‘Jobbing Printing Collection’. He requested samples of work from high-profile companies, artists and designers in Europe and North America, including items designed by members of the Bauhaus school, made for shops such as Fortnum & Mason, and for companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Shell and Imperial Airways.
The New Line presents a selection of items from the NAL’s collection, including lifestyle and trade magazines, beauty catalogues, tourism brochures and a sample chart for stockings. It highlights how the movement of people across borders, often escaping oppressive political regimes, led to the exchange of ideas and aesthetics, and the formation of new expressions of modernity. It also shows how interconnected art, design and industry were throughout the 1930s.
‘The acquisition and display of items of commercial printing positioned the Victoria and Albert Museum directly in the debate on modern design for the manufacture or ‘art and industry’ as it was often termed at the time.’
Alongside material from the V&A National Art Library’s Jobbing Printing Collection are items from private collections.
Researcher: Sandy Jones
Exhibited in 'Printing a Modern World: commercial graphics of the 1930s' diplayed in Gallery 102 at the V&A, 3 February – 19 August 2018
Progressive printed advertising in Britain in the 1930s linked the Modernist style to social improvement and commercial innovation through creative choices based on the artistic revolutions that occurred between 1890 and 1920. European designers – many of whom left their countries to escape the rise of National Socialism – employed strategies such as photomontage, dynamic typography, and simple geometric elements, often adopting an asymmetrical or diagonal grid. Their British counterparts assimilated these approaches, but tended to retain traditional practices such as hand-drawn illustration and processes such as wood-engraving to achieve their aims.
In 1936, Beatrice Warde, Publicity Manager at the Monotype Corporation, described an imaginary box of ‘jobs’ that would not only display noteworthy new developments in printing, but also represent effective design in ordinary daily life. Later that year, Philip James, then Deputy Keeper of the National Art Library at the V&A, started to request samples of work from significant designers across Britain, Europe and America, to create an ‘open reference collection of commercial typography’.

Labels and date

‘Printing a modern world’ Gallery 102, V&A, 2018

die neue linie Cover proof of first issue
Leipzig, September 1929
Die neue linie was the first German lifestyle magazine. Moholy-Nagy’s photomontage for the debut issue typifies a publication that was innovative in both content and design. Its experimental approach is also evident in Herbert Bayer’s use of lower case lettering for the masthead. This is a proof-sheet, used to check the print quality, especially important when colour is integral to the design.
Offset lithography
Designed by László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) and Herbert Bayer (1900–1985)
Published by Otto Beyer Publishing Company
Museum no. 38041800796336 [2018]
'The New Line', De La Warr Pavilion, 2016-17

die neue linie (cover proof)
September 1929
Cover designed by László Moholy-Nagy (b.1895 Bácsborsód, Hungary; d.1946 Chicago, USA), art director Herbert Bayer (b.1900 Haag am Hausruck, Austria; d.1985 Montecito, USA)

You and we are standing at a point, from which three paths go out into the world:
On one path, men and women with heads and wigs march and strike up the tune of the ‘good old days’.
On the other path, snobs wander and proclaim with a frown that in Paris, one now extends one’s eyelashes with the legs of flies and that Gloria Swanson should be the ideal of every lady.
Madam, you sense as we do, that the ‘good old times’ have irretrievably passed, and that a lady does not acquire her ideal from Hollywood. You know that there is a third way, that of the true lady.
die neue linie, first issue editorial, September 1929

die neue linie was a lifestyle magazine, published in Germany from 1929-43. It was designed to appeal to the middle class ‘new woman’ in her ‘fashion, leisure time and cultural as well as professional activities.’ It included contributions from leading designers, artists and writers such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius and Thomas Mann. die neue linie showcased a range of new creative techniques such as the ‘new photography’ with its unexpected vantage points, photomontages of abstract and fragmented images, combining this with modern typography. Published monthly by Beyer Press in Leipzig, its art director was Herbert Bayer who had been a student and master at the Bauhaus.
Founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus was one of the most influential art schools in Europe in the twentieth century. Combining fine and applied arts, the Bauhaus aimed to unite creativity with manufacturing, believing that good design should be integrated into everyday life. In 1933, when the Nazi Party came to power, the school closed. The kind of cosmopolitan modernism that the Bauhaus championed was seen by the Nazi regime as ‘degenerate’. Many members of the Bauhaus fled abroad to countries such as Britain and the United States, continuing to spread their influence as well as drawing from the different aesthetics and practices they found in these places. [2016]
'Inspiration by Design: Word and Image from the National Art Library at the V&A', State Library of Victoria, Melbourne and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 2015

László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946)
die neue linie, september 1929
Leipzig, 1929
Moholy-Nagy’s Surrealist photomontage for the cover of the debut issue of die neue linie, the first German lifestyle magazine, typifies a publication that was innovative in both content and design. Colour proofs collected in 1936 provided students with examples of a particular stage in the printing process.
Donated by László Moholy-Nagy
Museum no. 38041800796336 [2015]


Metallic ink; Paper; Ink; Material


Printing; Technique


Fashion; National Art Library; Periodicals; Printed pages & sheets; Typography; Jobbing Printing

Production Type



National Art Library

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