Dard Hunter: The Graphic Works
The distinctive typography and elegant compositions designed by William Joseph “Dard” Hunter (American, 1883–1966) have become icons of the American Arts and Crafts style and have established him as one of America’s most influential graphic artists of the twentieth century.
At age twenty-one, Hunter talked his way into a summer job at the famed Roycroft arts community in East Aurora, New York, and ended up staying. He had grown up around printing presses—his father was in the newspaper business—and had already dabbled with graphic arts. Under the mentorship of Roycroft leader Elbert Hubbard, Hunter forged his own design path, one that initially found its inspiration in William Morris’s Kelmscott Press but quickly shifted to modeling contemporary European design trends.
After marrying in 1908, Hunter and his wife enjoyed an extended visit to Vienna, where he immersed himself in the creative output of Austrian and German Secession artists, and the products of the Vienna Workshop (Wiener Werkstätte). In a letter home, Hunter wrote, “I think it’s up to me to do from the U.S. what these fellows have done from [Vienna].” The couple returned to Vienna in 1910 so that Hunter could attend a prestigious graphic arts school.
In England in 1911, Hunter became fascinated with making handmade paper, a craft that had ceased to exist in the United States. He moved to Marlborough, New York, a year later, where he built a paper mill and became the reigning expert on papermaking, eventually writing eighteen books on the subject.
But Hunter’s graphic art is what remains instantly recognizable and beloved today. Dard Hunter: The Graphic Works features more than eighty of his designs for book covers and title pages, booklets, brochures, letterheads, and stained glass windows. Accompanied by historical photographs and examples from Hunter’s design contemporaries, author Lawrence Kreisman’s illuminating text establishes Hunter as a unique voice that emerged from a multitude of extraordinary influences in an incomparable era of flourishing artistic achievement.
About the AUTHOR
LAWRENCE KREISMAN, M.A., M. Arch., Hon. AIA Seattle, is coauthor with Glenn Mason of the groundbreaking study, The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press, 2007), and co-curator of the subsequent traveling exhibition organized by the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. He is program director of Historic Seattle, which has hosted more than eighty scholars and authors in its Design Arts and Arts & Crafts lecture programs. He has authored nine books on architecture, design history, and historic preservation.