Modernism: in print

Dutch graphic design in all its splendour

From 16 June through 1 October, the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam will be showing the exhibition ‘Modernism: in print’. It is the first retrospective exhibition of modernism in Dutch graphic design.

Graphic design since De Stijl

Modernism in print

Poster of the exhibition, design Studio PutGootink

One hundred years after the birth of the art movement De Stijl, this exhibition shows for the first time a retrospective of Dutch graphic design as created under the influence of De Stijl and the international avant-garde.

The exhibition uses printed matter and unique items from the archives such as original sketches and designs to show how modernism visually dominated our daily life for a long period and in a wide variety of graphic forms, ranging from corporate styles and posters to postage stamps and photographic books.

Citroën, design Karel Suyling, 1960

Citroën, design Karel Suyling, 1960

The designers featured include Piet Zwart, Dick Elffers, Jurriaan Schrofer, Wim Crouwel and Experimental Jetset. With international handbooks, type specimens and key works from such designers as El Lissitzky, Jan Tschichold and Karl Gerstner, Modernism: in print adds context to the Netherlands' contribution to modernism.

The exhibition was curated by Mathieu Lommen and designed by Studio PutGootink, which also made a visual essay based on the selected designs.

Publication by Frederike Huygen

  • Frederike Huygen, Modernism: In Print. Dutch Graphic Design 1917–2017.
  • Designed by Lex Reitsma, published by Lecturis.
  • ISBN 978 94 6226 224 9, € 29,95.

Comment by Hansje van Halem

In the adjacent UvA HeritageLab, graphic designer Hansje van Halem (born 1978) – the new main designer for the Lowlands festival – comments on modernism under the title Hansje van Halem: in patterns. The modernists expressly rejected ornament, but here ornament is shown to be highly relevant once more.


The progress of both exhibitions can be followed on the Facebook page Modernism: in print.


Published by  Special Collections UvA

16 June 2017