Form and feeling
Rudolph de Harak gets the recognition he deserves in a new monograph by Richard Poulin. [EXTRACT]
A monumental new book celebrates the career of US Modernist designer Rudolph de Harak (1924-2002), known to his friends as Rudy, writes John L. Walters. Though by mid-career he had already influenced other designers and had won many accolades, de Harak was self-taught, a late starter whose contemporaries raced ahead of him. His work is often left out of simplified accounts of Modernist design and typography; several reference books and histories omit his name altogether. Author Richard Poulin, who worked closely with de Harak for ten years, was well prepared to fight his corner, and in Rational Simplicity he has assembled a convincing argument, in words and pictures, for de Harak’s place at the top table. Poulin had access to the extensive archive de Harak’s wife Carol donated to the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection, which means that all the major projects are well represented. Though the book’s title signals the hardcore purity of de Harak’s systematic approach, there is a strong humanist strand as well.
Asked whether he thought de Harak had been overlooked, Poulin replied: ‘Yes! There’s no question. He always seemed like the outcast; he was never mainstream. Even at the beginning of his career, he always wanted to go by his own set of rules.’ …
John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London
Read the full version in Eye no. 104 vol. 26, 2023
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