The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928–1930


by Gennifer Weisenfeld (Author)

A delightful and revelatory journey through the most important Japanese design publication of its time.

In the boom years of the 1920s, Japanese designers developed a radical new vision for their profession. Engaging modernist and avant-garde trends from abroad, refashioning local graphic and calligraphic forms, and using the latest tools and techniques, they poured fresh colors and expressive forms into all facets of consumer life, from streetscapes to the printed page. The Complete Commercial Artist, a twenty-four–volume compendium released between 1928 and 1930, is the most important—and most visually dazzling—document of this still underappreciated moment in global design history. 

Art historian Gennifer Weisenfeld takes readers inside The Complete Commercial Artist, contextualizing hundreds of full-color reproductions spanning every volume, with an extensive historical introduction and volume-by-volume walk-throughs. Brimming with designs for constructivist storefronts and shop windows, Bauhaus-inspired photo collages, art deco letterforms, manga advertisements, startlingly contemporary posters, and much more, The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928–1930 also includes a translated excerpt from editor Hamada Masuji’s utopian essay, which appears in the final volume.

The book also features biographies of the publication’s renowned contributors, including Hamada Masuji, Murayama Tomoyoshi, Murota Kurazō, Nakada Sadanosuke, Okamoto Ippei, Onchi Kōshirō, Saitō Kazō, Sugiura Hisui, Takehisa Yumeji, Takei Takeo, Yajima Shūichi, and more.

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