Our second Revealed exhibition showcases drawings by the French book cover designer Paul Bonet (1889-1971) in the collection of contemporary Austrian artist Florian Pumhösl (1971).
Pumhösl’s own artistic interests in Modernist practice encapsulate his collecting, exhibited in Revealed with production designs for Bonet’s elaborately embossed leather bound designs.
A leading figure in 20th century French book design, Paul Bonet is well known for his intricately embossed book bindings in leather and board. Bonet, who began his career as a fashion designer, started designing bindings in the 1920s and by the 1930s was one of France’s most eminent designers. During his 50 years in the trade, Bonet experimented with a range of artistic styles and forms, from Art Déco and Art Nouveau to Cubism and Surrealism. His extensive design work accompanied publications of French art, literature, and ideas. Often entirely abstract, his unique designs frequently bore no relation to the contents held within the book’s pages.
These drawings give special insight into Bonet’s way of working. Characteristic of Bonet’s unique patterning and repeated design, they evoke a sense of rhythm and movement, in contrast with many of the designs used on book covers today that are based on title illustrations and typography.
As examples of Bonet’s finely crafted works of art, a selection of books are available to browse.