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Ivan Chermayeff Collection

About the Collection

On the whole, the Ivan Chermayeff collection comprises original work—both personal artworks and commercial illustrations—in a variety of media, the vast majority of which is collage (most artworks are mixed-media, and most commercial work uses Color-Aid cutouts), though there are a number of works in acrylic paint, watercolor, ink gouache, graphite, photography, serigraphy, and lithography. Series 1. Original Artworks, comprises original artworks, framed and unframed. The majority of artworks are collages (employing three-dimensional objects as well as paper and paint). The series also includes paintings, drawings in ink and graphite, lithographs, photographs, ink gouache and watercolor, letterpress and serigraphy. We have tried to identify media where possible. Three collages were produced in collaboration with Tony Palladino. Series 2. Original Illustrations, includes original commercial illustrations, categorized into the appropriate subseries where possible, often mounted on pressboard for photographing. Subseries 3. Printed Materials, covers such types of items as brochures, booklets, bulletins, cards, annual reports, and album covers. Subseries 5. Miscellaneous, exists to organize all original illustrations whose end purpose could not be ascertained. The vast majority of illustrations in Series 2 are Color-Aid collages, though there are also mixed-media collages, drawings, and paintings. Series 3. Printed Materials, comprises actually produced printed materials received. Subseries 1 comprises those materials that have not been mounted, unlike those included in subseries 2 and 3. The decision to distinguish between printed materials mounted on foam core and those mounted on pasteboard comes from the impression that most pasteboard mounted printed materials were used in Ivan Chermayeff’s 1995 Masters Series exhibition at SVA, most of which appear to be reproductions and not original materials. The foam-core mounted printed materials, on the other hand, appear to be originals. Series 4. Steuben Glass Designs, describes sketches by Chermayeff of various types of glassware for possible production by Steuben Glass, a division of Corning Glass Works, which seem to not have been produced. Born in London, Ivan Chermayeff (June 6, 1932–December 3, 2017) came to the US with his family when he was 8 years old. After graduating from Yale in 1955, Chermayeff worked briefly as an assistant for Alvin Lustig, then for Columbia Records designing album covers. In 1957, he founded the design firm Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar, later Chermayeff & Geismar (and now, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv). Chermayeff & Geismar was particularly known for its corporate identities for clients such as Mobil, Burlington, Xerox, Pan Am, Chase, MoMA, and NYU. In addition to his work as a graphic designer with C&G, Chermayeff was a prolific illustrator for several periodicals and illustrated a handful of children's books. On the whole, the Ivan Chermayeff collection comprises original work—both personal artworks and commercial illustrations—in a variety of media, the vast majority of which is collage (most artworks are mixed-media, and most commercial work uses Color-Aid cutouts), though there are a number of works in acrylic paint, watercolor, ink gouache, graphite, photography, serigraphy, and lithography.