"PORTFOLIO #2 [A Magazine For The Graphic Arts, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1950]" BRODOVITCH, Alexey

BRODOVITCH, Alexey [art editor]

ROSENTHAL, George S. & Frank ZACHARY, Editors

Zebra Press


13" x 10"


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Cover Design for a Kite by Charles Eames, reproduced from his original paste-up made with swatches of colored tissue paper.

Charles Eames designed the front cover for the Summer 1950 second edition of the Portfolio Magazine, using a full color mock up of one of his favorite kite designs. The edition which featured the Eames Portfolio Magazine Cover also contained a 14 page article on the work of Charles and Ray Eames, from their furniture, to art, case study house, war work to kite design.

Portfolio Magazine was a magazine for the graphical arts. Intended to be published quarterly, the magazine itself was beautifully put together with thick textured pages, fold out sections, exceptional editorial content and contemporary art of the time.

Published by Zebra Press and edited by George Rosenthal and Frank Zachary, it's art director was none other than Alexey Brodovitch who was considered a legend in graphic design, thanks to his work on Harpers Bazaar.

Portfolio is considered a masterpiece today and running through the thick colorful content laden pages, it's not hard to see why. The magazine sadly only lasted for 3 issues, with many citing Brodovitch's insistence that the magazine would contain no advertising content whatsoever, only high quality art and graphic design.

All three editions of Portfolio, from 1950 through 1951 have become very collectible however this, the second edition with the Eames Portfolio Magazine feature has become the most sought after.


This issue spotlights the work of Ray and Charles Eames-- one of the earliest magazines to profile the Eames Office. This edition includes an embossed cover, bound-in wallpaper sample, several fold-outs and the highest quality printing available in the early 1950s.

Literary Forms: Article on typography (8 pages, 7 full-page reproductions) that reads as follows: "Rarely is the printed page considered a medium of plastic invention. Its design has become standardized, a machine-like element devoid of feeling and esthetic significance. This is cause for regret, for the variety of forms possible when typography and calligraphy are creatively used approaches that of abstract painting. On the following seven pages, Portfolio, reproduces in facsimile a number of unusual pages which possess real visual charm and excitement. First the modern and French poet Guillaume Apollinaire's sensitive arrangement of his poem IL Pleut (It Rains), trickling down through the clean white air of the page opposite like a gentle spring shower. It is followed in turn by two curious pages from an early Christian panegyric, printed in 16th Century Germany and stenciled with mysterious religious symbols--a superb example of that now extinct form of literary expression known as "carmen figurato" (figured poem). Next is a contemporary spread from Pierre Reverdy's poem Le Chant des Morts (Song of the Dead Ones), with the text in the poet's script and illustrated with lithographs by Pablo Picasso who derived the abstract form of his designs from the skull, the bone and the straight line. Last is a poem by Wu Chang-Shih, one of the greatest modern Chinese calligraphers, written in the calligraphic style known as Ts'ao-Shu, or "grass" style, because of the impromptu nature of the strokes with which are the characters are formed. For designers chafing under the conventional discipline of the printed page in seeking new directions, these pages should bring both pleasure and inspiration.
Charles Coiner & The Container Corp of America Art Series: art director for N.W. Ayer and Son Inc. with 14 illustrated pages, 4 in full-page color: Full page color plates-- Rufino Tamayo, Henry Moore, Morris Graves, Ben Shahn.
The MUMMERS Parade--a unique Philadelphia tradition captured in an amazing 6-page Pull-Out of 30+ photographs-- Sol Mednick, Ben Rose, & Philadelphia School of Art students.
The Amazing Vari-Typer-- the 1st word processor: 10-page illustrated article on James B. Hammond's invention--a typewriter which only the giant Linotype can match.
Advertising Art in 1900: 7 pgs, 25+ images-- vintage packaging, trade cards, etc.-- Yellow Kid, Soapine.
MIRO on the Wall-- wallpaper examples (including full color insert- "Wisconsin."): Illustrated article about wallpaper design, 6 pages, 5 of which are full-page illustrations of wallpaper designs from Katzenbach and Warren Inc.; plus a full-color sample of wallpaper titled "Wisconsin", designed by ILonka Karasz, machine-printed by offset lithography, designs by other artist with illustrations, full-page color design by Miro.
Joseph Low-- Linoleum Typograph: 6-page illustrated article about artist Joseph Low titled, "Linoleum Blocks and Damped Paper".
Cartoonist William Steig: 6 pages, five of which are full-page illustrations of his work.
Cattle Brands: 6 pages, 5 of which are full-page illustrations.
Charles & Ray Eames: 14 illustrated pages, 8 full-page pictures. Feature article Intimate look at this historic team & Santa Monica office-- 25+ photo slideshow, 30+ total images- molded plywood & layout designs-- incl. several candid shots of the architect & his wife.

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