Hans Tisdall

Biography

Illustrator, teacher, painter, publicity. (Changed his name c1940.) Born Hans John Knox Aufseeser on 14 August 1910 in Munich, son of the artist-designer Ernst Aufseeser; his artist mother Anglo-Irish. From 1928: studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Art and at the Berlin Akademie. 1929: apprenticed to Moisey Kogan, a sculptor in Paris. 1930: moved to London (6 Fitzroy St.) where he soon became known as a textile designer. Married Isabel Gallegos whose father ran the Edinburgh Weavers. Designed fabrics and advertisements for Edinburgh Weavers, as well as murals and mosaics. From 1940: worked for Ministry of Information. 1943: contributed to series of wartime ads, ‘Fundamentals of Civilisation’ (‘The written word’), for United Steel Companies. 1940s: designed calligraphic book-jackets and illustrated pages for the publishers Jonathan Cape, Chatto and Windus and Cresset Press, and illustrated and ‘devized’ books for children (with Oliver Hill): Balbus (1944) and Wheels (1946), both for Pleiades Books. 1948-62: known for his freelance textile designs (particularly for the new Tamesa Fabrics), and as a painter and illustrator, he was asked to teach at Central School of Art, London, in both the School of Textile Design and (1951-62) the School of Painting. 1949: Tisdall produced one of his finest designs for the cover of The Art of the Book Jacket, London: V&A and HMSO. 1951: designed entrance to the fun fair, Battersea Pleasure Gardens, Festival of Britain. 1956-70: designed tapestries, mosaics, murals for industrial firms and public buildings. Infrequent teaching at Dartington Hall, Devon, and Venice. 1980s: lecturer at Central St Martin, London. Died 31 January 1997. His style was ‘light-hearted’ in comparison to that of his father. ‘Tisdall Script’ was designed by the British type designer Michael Harvey in 2001.

Writings by

    ‘Hans Tisdall: Notebooks’ (Italy, England), Motif 13, 1967, pp. 65-80, see also p. 1.

Writings about

  • Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., March 1937, p. 56 (ad for Edinburgh Weavers)
  • Lettering of To-day, special number of The Studio, 1937, p. 71
  • ‘Art, steel and advertising’, Art & Industry, Nov. 1943, pp. 139-45, esp. p. 140
  • Charles Rosner, ‘English book jackets’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 136-44, 263-4 Noel Carrington, ‘[British] Illustrated books for children’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 220-37
  • Charles Rosner, The art of the book jacket (V&A exh.), London: V&A, 1949
  • Peter Floud and Charles Rosner, ‘The book jacket comes of age’ (Art of the book jacket exhibition, V&A, London), Graphis 29, 1950, pp. 14-25 Paul Reilly, ‘The greatest collective achievement of the year 1951’ (Festival of Britain), Graphis 37, 1951, pp. 294-313, 379
  • Dan Johnston, ‘Textile jubilee’ (Edinburgh Weavers), Design, April 1956, p. 55
  • Michael Middleton (intro.), Hans Tisdall (exh. cat.), London: Hanover Gallery, 1961
  • ‘Notebooks’, Motif 13, 1967, pp. 65-80
  • book jacket, Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen (journal), to 1951. See also Typographische Monatsblätter . , April 1951, p. 144
  • John Curtis, ‘The lettering is the message’, Penrose Annual, 1971, pp. 25-37, esp. pp. 25, 26
  • JH/PP, 1989
  • Bryan Robertson (intro.), Hans Tisdall/Paintings 1960-90 (exh. cat.), London: Albemarle Gallery, 1990 (includes chronological biography , one-man exhibitions )
  • Bryan Robertson (intro.), Tisdall (exh. cat.), Düsseldorf: Galerie Vömel, 1990 (exhibitions at the Albemarle and Vömel at same time)
  • Alan Powers, obituary, The Independent, 7 Feb. 1997
  • Sylvia Backemeyer, ed., Making their Mark, London: Herbert Press, 2000
  • Michael Harvey, ‘Hans Tisdall/Creative lettering artist’, baseline 37, 2002, pp. 21-4 M. Harvey, ‘Tisdall script: a typographic interpretation’, baseline 38, 2002, pp. 13-16 M. Harvey, ‘Hans Tisdall: Lettering artist and typographic inspiration’, Letter Arts Review, v. 17, no. 2, 2002, pp. 54-6
  • Benezit, 2006 (includes auction records, 1990-2004)
  • Mary Schoeser, obituary of Isabel Tisdall (wife of Hans), The Guardian, 12 Oct. 2007.
  • H.K. Frenzel, ‘Hans Aufseeser’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Dec. 1932, pp. 27-31
  • J.J. Meyer, ‘Menus and wine lists for the hotels of the British Transport Commission’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1960, pp. 2-13

Exhibitions

  • Leger Galleries, London, 1945, 1946
  • Brighton Museum, 1947
  • Galerie Vömel, Düsseldorf, 1958, 1965, 1970, 1974, 1990, 1995, 2003 (group)
  • Hanover Gallery, London, 1961
  • Plymouth Art Gallery, 1962
  • International Tapestry Exhibition, New York, 1969
  • ‘Art of the Letter’, Edinburgh, 1970
  • Pride Gallery, London, 1988
  • Albemarle Gallery, London, and Galerie Vömel, Düsseldorf, 1990
  • Central, St Martins, London, 2000 (group)
  • Galerie Vömel, Dusseldorf, 2007.