George Him

Biography

Publicity, book design, illustration, cartoons, display. Although born in Poland, Him received his artistic training in Germany. He was born Jerzy Himmelfarb in Lodz (Łódź) on 4 August 1900 of Russian-Jewish parents. (Because he had been a schoolboy in Poland, an adolescent in Russia, and a student at universities in Moscow and Germany, his name had been Jerzy, or Żorż, or Georgij, or Georg.) 1923-5: studied comparative history of religions in Moscow, Berlin and Bonn. 1925-9: studied at the Leipzig Akademie für graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe; designed stage sets. 1933-6: founded an advertising studio, Levitt-Him (or Levitt Him, later Lewitt-Him), with Jan Le Witt (also Polish: born 1907 in Czestochowa) in Warsaw. 1937: Le Witt and Him emigrated to London where they were soon designing advertisements (including for London Passenger Transport Board and Imperial Airways), and writing and illustrating numerous children’s books (ie: Diana Ross, The Little Red Engine Gets A Name, London: Faber, 1942) as well as editing others concerning Poland. Their later clients included the General Post Office and the Polish Ministry of Information. Their work is characterized by a ‘keen sense of comedy and burlesque’. (Art and Industry, 1942, v. 33) 1951: Lewitt-Him designed the Guinness clock at the Battersea Fun Fair, part of the Festival of Britain. The firm of Lewitt-Him continued until 1954, after which Him worked independently, continuing to illustrate children’s books (ie: Frank Herrmann, The Giant Alexander series, London: Methuen, 1964, as well as Dennis Ward, Russian Pronunciation Illustrated, CUP, 1966). He designed toys, packaging and exhibitions, notably for Philips, Schweppes, the windows for the Rotterdam department store de Bijenkorf (1957), the Israel Pavilion at Expo 67 Montreal, and was design consultant to El Al. 1977: Elected RDI (Royal Designer for Industry). He died April 1982 in London.

Writings by

  • The Football’s Revolt (with Jan Lewitt), London: Country Life, 1939
  • Poland’s Martyrdom. The German invasion in photographs and facts (compiled with JL), London: Kolin, 1940
  • Blue Peter (with JL), London: Faber & Faber, 1943
  • letter to Art & Industry on its silver jubilee, Art & Industry, July 1951, p. 7
  • ‘Cabbages or Kings?’, Art & Industry, July 1955, pp. 18-21
  • Republic of Israel, Jerusalem, 1958
  • ( ed .) 25 Years of Youth Aliyah, London: 1959
  • ‘Jean David’ (Israeli designer), Graphis 97, 1961, pp. 418-23, 445, 447 ‘Israel: Graphic arts in a young country’, Graphis 108, 1963, pp. 268-77, 343-4 Hans Schleger (Zéró)’ (with Paul Rand), Graphis 188, 1977, pp. 518-25, 566.
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, Zurich: Amstutz & Herdeg Graphis Press, 1962. , 1962

Writings about

  • Modern Publicity, 1941
  • ‘Lewitt-Him – a collaboration of ideals and ideas’, Art and Industry, August 1942, pp. 38-41
  • Eric Newton, ‘The poster in war-time Britain’, Art and Industry, July 1943, pp. 2-16
  • ‘Fables for the canteen’ (Lewitt-Him mural for Langley Alloys Ltd), Art and Industry, March 1944, pp. 88-9
  • Paul Colin, ‘Paul Colin looks at the world’s war posters’, Art and Industry, Sept. 1945, pp. 87-90
  • ‘The Dutch fighting spirit 1939-45. The propaganda poster in the liberation of Holland’, Art and Industry, July 1946, pp. 41-6
  • Noel Carrington, ‘British poster art during the war’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 172-85, 271-3 Manuel Gasser, ‘Lewitt-Him’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 200-11, 273-4 Noel Carrington, ‘[British] Illustrated books for children’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 220-37 Donald McCullough, ‘Press advertising in Great Britain’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 238-49 note on Lewitt-Him commission to paint mural for Wood Bros., Graphis 18, 1947, p. 160
  • A. Williams-Ellis, ‘Lewitt-Him and the uses of nonsense’, Art and Industry, April 1947, pp. 104-11
  • G.O. Austen, ‘American Overseas Airlines’, Graphis 22, 1948, pp. 118-22, 197-8 ‘British poster designers know their job’, Art and Industry, 1948, v. 44, pp. 42-52, esp. pp. 46, 48 Modern Publicity, 1942/8
  • winner in Vienna International Poster Exhibition (Lewitt-Him), Art and Industry, March 1949, p. 115
  • Charles Rosner, ‘Werbegraphik in England’, Graphik, 6, 1949, pp. 238-47
  • 1950-present: Charles Rosner, ‘British commercial art’, Graphis 31, 1950, pp. 206-49, 286-8 Paul Reilly, ‘The greatest collective achievement of the year 1951’ (Festival of Britain), Graphis 37, 1951, pp. 294-313, 379
  • John Barmas, ‘Lewitt-Him versus Time’ (Festival clock), Art and Industry, March 1952, pp. 92-5, 102
  • ‘Exhibition of art for industry in Stockholm National Museum’, Graphik, 1952, pp. 190-97
  • James de Holden Stone, ‘Pair of Aces’, Art and Industry, Sept. 1953, pp. 82-9
  • C. Rosner, ‘Recent air travel publicity’, Graphis 46, 1953, pp. 124-33, 161-4
  • Modern Publicity 1953-4, 1953, pp. 93, 131 (Lewitt-Him)
  • C.G. Tomrley, ‘Lewitt-Him. Twenty years’, Graphis 48, 1953, pp. 268-75, 331-3
  • Mary Gowing, ‘Georg Him’, Art & Industry, May 1957, pp. 152-7, 178
  • C. Rosner, ‘An experiment in window display’ (De Bijenkorf, Rotterdam), Graphis 74, 1957, pp. 522-7, 558
  • Graphik, Oct. 1957, p. 16 (New Year’s cards)
  • C. Rosner, ‘George Him’, Graphis 94, 1961, p. 146-55, 165-6
  • F.H.K. Henrion, ‘George Him’ (obituary), Design, July 1982, p. 9
  • JH/PP, 1989
  • Ruth Artmonsky, Lewitt-Him, Woodbridge, Antique Collectors‘ Club, 2008.
  • Ernst Fischer and others, Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933-1950. Eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933-1945 Der Deutschen Bibliothek. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003. Very comprehensive. , 2003, biog.: p. 171
  • 1936-49: Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Levitt Him, Warsaw’ [sic], Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., July 1936, pp. 26-33
  • Anton Sailer, ‘[Posters of the] General Post Office in London’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1952, pp. 9-17
  • E. Hölscher, ‘Lewitt-Him, London’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., May 1953, pp. 2-11
  • Alfred Kayser, ‘All the riches of the world displayed in the windows of the department-store Bijenkorf’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Oct. 1957, pp. 24-7

Exhibitions

  • Lund, Humphries, London, 1937 (Lewitt and Him)
  • Tel Aviv, 1948
  • National Museum, Stockholm, 1952
  • Associated American Artists Galleries, New York, and Museum Art School, Philadelphia, 1953.

Collections

  • V & A Archive of Art and Design, Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, London W14 0QF.