Erwin Bechtold arrived in Barcelona in 1950, although, as Ricard Giralt Miracle wrote in 1993, more than simply arriving in Barcelona, he disembarked in Filograf (see previous posts), the graphic arts studio where this pioneer would print his and his clients’ work. Bechtold and Giralt Miracle crossed paths in careers bound to print and typography, as well as sharing significant contributions to the standardisation of graphic art in Spain, as attested by Joan Perucho.
Erwin Bechtold was an example of a versatile creator who produced works in the mediums of painting, architecture, interior design and graphic design, impressing great exactitude upon each field. His 1972 design for the magazine “Destino (Destination)” was his most widely disseminated work as he implemented a sound typographic criteria that started with the publication’s heading.
His knowledge of graphic art techniques was decisive in developing this work and his other designs within the sphere of publishing. The graphic lines he produced for the collection “Áncora y Delfín (Anchor and Dolphin)” or “destinolibro (destinationbook)” from Ediciones Destino, are some of his most celebrated designs, accompanying, alongside Daniel Gil’s Libro de Bolsillo for Alianza Editorial, generations of Spanish readers over a number of decades.
He was an experimenter in the many different fields in his painting work, and there is one, standing above the rest, that I have a personal interest in due to the similarities in its use as an expressive tool: collage. In reference to some of Bechtold’s works, in 1967 Friedrich Bayl wrote how “the discontinuity of the sequences and the simultaneity of what is unfastened is introduced into the collage as an abbreviation, a symbol, a ‘sign’, documents or events in lived time. With it, the artistic creation has taken on a new dimension, both internally and externally, and freedom in themes and mediums,” and how, along with Josep Lluis Sert’s reflection on his work, “the carefully measured geometry stresses the spontaneous and uncontrolled elements”, to become “an open door to new experiences in the coordination of arts,” which were Erwin Bechtold’s contributions to the repertoire of possibilities that a graphic designer must manage every day in their professional work.