Current exhibition

Helmut Salden (1910–1996). A prolific lettering artist

Helmut Salden in his office in Amsterdam, 1965

The exhibition Helmut Salden (1910–1996). A prolific lettering artist is on view from Monday until Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. from 11 September until 11 December 2018. 

This exhibition is a collaboration of House of the book, a joint initiative of KB. National Library of the Netherlands and Museum Meermanno, and Catapult on the occasion of the completion of the conservation of the Helmut Salden archive earlier this year. This archive is part of the Museum Meermanno collection. 

Please Click here to register for the opening of the exhibition on Monday 10th September at 18.00 hrs.

Book cover,
Book cover, G.A. van Oorschot, Amsterdam. 1951
Book cover, De Breuk, Amsterdam. 1994

Helmut Salden was born in Essen, Germany on February 20th 1910. He was a student at the Folkwangschule fuer Gestaltung, also known as the ‘Bauhaus des Westens’ (‘Bauhaus of the West’). Already in 1931 he became a teacher of Photography at this institute. As an opponent to the Nazi Party he was fired in 1933. In 1934 he fled the country to France, Spain and Switzerland. In 1938 he followed the Dutch writer Hendrik Marsman to Holland. After a short period working for Piet Zwart, Salden started as a designer of book covers for a.o. A.A.M. Stols. In 1942 he was arrested, and was condemned to death in 1943. After his verdict was changed into imprisonment, he spend the rest of the war in several prisons and concentration camps.

Book cover, A.A.M Slots, Den Haag. 1948
Book cover, Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam. 1965
Book cover, P.N. van Kampen & Zoon N.V., Amsterdam, 1940

In 1946 he returned to the Netherlands, were he became a prolific bookdesigner, working for more than seventy publishing houses in the Netherlands and abroad. His work was awarded many times: over a hundred of his books were amongst the best designed books in the Netherlands. Salden’s book-jackets mainly consist of drawn letters in which he subtly tried to catch the content of the book and the character of the author. In 1959 he was invited to design a new typeface, but this was unfortunately never completed. In the early 1980’s Salden refrained from taking assignments. He then concentrated on designing monograms and experimented with hundreds of letter combinations.

His archive

His archive was donated to Museum Meermanno in the year 2000 by his widow, Katja Vranken. The archive consists of most of the books Salden designed, original sketches and drawings of the book-jackets and monograms, proofs, personal papers and correspondence with publishers, writers and colleagues, including Jan Tschichold, Gerrit Noordzij en Herman Zapf. This year the completion of the conservation of the archive of this prolific artist gives an excellent opportunity to show many original drawings of lettering, bookcovers and monograms, covering a period of more than 50 years.

Katja Vranken
Info exhibition

Helmut Salden (1910–1996). A prolific lettering artist 
11.09.2018 – 11.12.2018
Opening: 10.09.2018

Project space ‘Kades-Kaden’
Rubenslei 10
2018 Antwerp

In collaboration with: House of the book, a joint initiative of KB, National Library of the Netherlands and Museum Meermanno