His name might not be widely known, but Polish-Jewish émigré George Him was an influential figure in the world of graphic design.
Working both independently and as part of the esteemed Lewitt-Him partnership, the designer stamped his own identity on everything he produced, bringing a touch of European modernism to British graphic design.
This delightful new exhibition at Granary Square’s House of Illustration will showcase the breadth and depth of the designer’s long career with work from all the major periods of his life.
Highlights of the exhibition will include a selection of Him’s iconic wartime posters for the Ministries of Food and Information, as well as some of his commercial work for companies like Schweppes, the Post Office and The Times.
The exhibition will also feature previously unseen working sketches and original artworks.
The new exhibition is one of the final events in the Insiders/Outsiders Festival. The festival showcases the contribution to British culture made by refugees from Nazi Europe.
George Him was born Jerzy Himmelfarb in a suburb of Lodz, Poland. After completing school and further education in Warsaw, Him moved to Moscow to study Law. His stay in Russia was cut short, however, when the Russian Revolution forced the closure of his university.
A move to Germany followed, and after a brief period studying Comparative Religions at the University of Bonn, Him moved to Leipzig to study graphic design.
Following the completion of his course, Him moved back to Poland, setting up a partnership with fellow graphic designer Jan Le Witt.
The two wasted little time in established their own distinctive style – a clever fusion of cubist and surrealist motifs – and in attracting business.
The duo moved to London in 1937. The city proved even more fruitful than their native Poland, with the partnership soon winning lucrative commissions from such established organisations as London Transport and Imperial Airways.
At the height of their success in the 1940s, Lewitt-Him were working on propoganda posters for government agencies. The pair’s series of public safety posters for the Ministry of Information and the General Post Office were both iconic and memorable.
During this period, the duo also received much acclaim for the murals they produced for 1951’s Festival of Britain.
Him and Le Witt parted company in 1954, with Le Witt keen to focus on his abstract paintings and artworks.
Him continued to work in graphic design, later working with Schweppes, Pan-American Airways and Penguin Books.
The George Him exhibition at the House of Illustration is currently suspended due to the Coronavirus Crisis. More information about the exhibition can be found here.
For information on other great exhibitions in London, please click here.