Massin Laetitia Wolff

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Robert Massin (b. 1925) is a highly influential French graphic artist and a key figure in the history of twentieth-century book design. Massin’s career began in Paris during the 1950s and he has since worked with an extensive range of renowned publishers and cultural institutions. In 1958, he began working for the pre-eminent French publishers, Gallimard, where he was to spend 20 years developing their design department and launching new titles, including the Folio series– a popular collection of pocket books still much-loved by the French public today.

Massin has collaborated with many famous playwrights and writers, including Eugène Ionesco and Raymond Queneau. His experimentation with ‘expressive typography’ in Ionesco’s La Cantatrice chauve and Queneau’s Exercices de Style are masterpieces in book design and illustrate a unique and creative adventure in the history of typography.

This is the first monograph on Massin to be published in English, and discusses in detail his explorations into book design, art direction, typography, design education and writing, as well as the man behind this impressive body of work. The author has had unrestricted access to the designer’s personal archives, and has carried out her research in collaboration with the artist himself. Laetitia Wolff’s lively text is accompanied by detailed examinations of Massin’s designs and specially commissioned photographs, and is an essential reference work on the creative mind of this innovative designer.

Specifications:

  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
  • Pages: 208 pp
  • Illustrations: 445 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714848112

Laetitia Wolff is a writer, curator, and design consultant, who has had unrivalled access to the Massin collection as well as the designer’s personal archives. Currently editorial director at Surface magazine, she is the author of the book series Design Focus (Gingko Press), and has also been involved with several graphic design exhibitions, including the first retrospective of the work of Massin at the Cooper Union Gallery, in New York (2002).

"Typographic design isn't often in the headlines... It's fair to say that those who graphically render text for a living rarely merit a 238-page tribute book. Then again, few have made a 60-year contribution to the form like French graphic-design legend Robert Massin... Laetitia Wolff's book is the story of one man's lasting and pervading influence in his field. "I create things to last - the opposite of a trend," Massin once said. This tome is proof of that."— Esquire

"A gorgeously put-together book about gorgeously put-together books."—Image

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