Shortly Before Dawn thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Shortly Before Dawn

Photograph
ca. 1936-1939 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
printer's ink, paper, photomontage, photography
Brief Description
Photograph by Herbert Bayer, 'Shortly Before Dawn', 1932-9, gelatin silver print
Physical Description
Photomontage dreamscape featuring objects that vary in shape: from amorphous to natural to geometric
Dimensions
  • Image goes to edge of sheet height: 294mm
  • Image goes to edge of sheet width: 386mm
  • Height: 12.5in (Note: Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1968)
  • Width: 10.5in (Note: Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1968)
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 1/40 Bayer (bottom left of print)
  • Herbert Bayer 1936/9 (Bottom right of print)
Gallery Label
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
Credit line
Acquired from Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London in 1968.
Historical context
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.739-1968

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record createdOctober 11, 2006
Record URL