Gerd Arntz

isotypes

Gerd Arntz (1900 – 1988) was a German Modernist artist – famous for his black and white woodcuts. A core member of the Cologne Progressives he was also a council communist. The Cologne Progressives participated in the revolutionary unions AAUD and its offshoot the AAUE in the 1920s, and in 1928 Arntz was contributing anti-parliamentary prints to its paper ‘Die Proletarische Revolution’ which called for workers to form and participate in worker’s councils. These political prints depicted the life of worker’s and the class struggle in abstracted figures in woodcuts.

In 1926 Otto Neurath sought his collaboration in designing pictograms for the ‘Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics’ (‘Wiener Methode der Bildstatistik’; later renamed ‘Isotype’). From the beginning of 1929 Arntz worked at the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum (Social and economic museum) directed by Neurath in Vienna. Eventually, Arntz designed around 4000 pictograms. After the brief civil war in Austria in 1934 he emigrated to the Netherlands, joining Neurath and Reidemeister in The Hague, where they continued their collaboration at the International Foundation for Visual Education.

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