Dolly Rudeman

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Dolly Rudeman (born Gustave Adolphine Wilhelmina Rüdemann, 3 February 1902 – 26 January 1980) was a Dutch graphic designer. Born in what is now Indonesia to Dutch parents, her father died when she was very young and her mother took the family back to The Netherlands when Dolly was in her teens. Dolly Rudeman studied art and drawing from an early age, and eventually decided to make a career from it. There being so little financial stability in art, however, in her judgement, turned her towards the medium of poster design. She produced posters for some of the most famous directors and film stars of her day, including Eisenstein, Chaplin, and Garbo. In the twenties, she was the only woman designing posters for the film industry, and was a prolific designer of posters and printed programs for the Dutch Cinema Trust. Although work dried up during the Second World War – when she aided Jews in hiding from the occupying Nazis – she returned to poster design after the war. The 1950s have been termed her 'golden age', and she expanded into other forms of design such as for postcards, chocolate boxes, and ceramics; however, she did not achieve the fame she had had before the war, and died in relative obscurity in Amsterdam in 1980.

Background

Dolly Gustave Adolphine Wilhelmina Rüdeman was born on 3 February 1902 in Salatiga, Java.[1][2] She was the second child to Adolf Rudeman and Gerardina van Elsbroek; her father ran a sugar factory there, but died six months prior to Dolly's birth. Her mother married again, and, after the family moved to Batavia, by 1916 they had moved to The Hague.[3] Dolly Rudeman had one sister, who spent much of her life in Indonesia, and there was to be very little contact between them in adulthood.[4] Rudeman would however cook Indonesian cuisine throughout her life.[5]

Rudeman stayed at high school for two years before joining the Hague Drawing Institute for drawing lessons, later moving to the Royal Academy of Art where she obtained a teaching certificate in drawing. A classmate of Rudeman's later recalled that most of the class "went on to be more or less unknown" while Rudeman, now in her twenties, was "already riding around on a motorbike" and other women in the class "became housewives." Initially she considered a career in portraiture, but decided against it on the grounds- as she explained some years later- that she was "not well-off, and most Dutch people consider it a scandalous waste of money to have yourself painted."[6]

Early career

The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in the 1930s, where Rudeman studied

She enrolled at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (the Royal Academy of Art) in The Hague and studied drawing, graduating in 1922. Wanting to design posters, she travelled to England to study under the illustrator and cartoonist, Charles Exeter Devereux Crombie. In the mid-1920s, having returned to the Netherlands, she began working for the Dutch Cinema Trust, drawing posters.[7] Having moved into her own studio, she taught private pupils as well as producing general illustrations.[6]

Rudeman's first- and one of the most famous of this period, which made her name[3]- was the "vicious Cossack"[7] for Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin in 1925.[8] A then-unheard of 7,500 copies were printed for the film's promotion; this was on top of the fact that at the time it was "virtually unheard of" for a Dutch film promoter to produce a particular poster for a single show (in fact they often resorted to the expediency of merely painting over the titles of foreign-produced posters). It was at this time that Het Vaderland famously declared that the "designer of the poster must be of the same persuasion as the director of the film."[9] That same year, she was offered a permanent contract with the Dutch Cinema Trust, and so achieved financial security.[10]

Rudeman also designed many program covers, producing around seventy between 1926 and 1927.[11] In 1928 she left for Paris, working under the painter Cassandre, and the next year she travelled to Berlin.[7] In the course of her career she created posters for Marlene Dietrich (in Dishonored), Greta Garbo, and Asta Nielsen, comedians Charlie Chaplin (for City Lights)[7] and Buster Keaton's The General, as well as those who declined into obscurity such as Dolores del Río (The Loves of Carmen and Ramona).[12]

In 1928 Rudeman attended the International Film Exhibition at The Hague,[4] and that same year she received a major commission to redesign the many wall paintings and lampshades at the Cinéma Palace, a movie theatre in Groningen.[7] This was in spite of the fact that at that point she had no experience of interior design.[11] The results were well received, with coverage ranging from in-house, cinematic trade publications to popular women's magazines such as Het Rijk der Vrouw.[7] The latter wrote although the local community was "highly conservative in their taste [they] learned to appreciate her ultra-modern work."[11] The magazine also wrote, for example, that although in post-war Europe they were "used to seeing women in men's jobs... It was a surprise... when we saw Dolly Rudeman's posters and learnt that this was the work of a woman!"[9] The same year she produced the first film poster commissioned by the Dutch government, her The Circus.[13] However, the Cinema Trust commissions dried up for Rudeman when Barend Lugend left the organisation in 1929. Of her work until 1932, an estimated 150 posters and 70 programs remain. She continued to produce special assignments, and was exhibited as a solo artist and in group shows.[7]

Rudeman had to work quickly in producing her posters. She had no time to actually see the films she was illustrating because her posters had to be out before they commenced their run; all she had to work with was a script scenario and sometimes a photograph of the stars.[11] Sometimes she had to work on two or three posters per week.[14] She did not, however, only confine herself to posters; her other work included chocolate boxes, letterheads, and packaging and magazine designs; even, on one occasion, a luxury wall calendar.[15]

The Hotel Krasnapolsky (in 2016) where Rudeman's second exhibition took place in 1927

Exhibitions

The first time Rudeman's work was exhibited was a one day exhibition on 17 October 1927 in Amsterdam. The show was a success, to such an extent that trade paper De Reclame mourned the fact that it had only lasted for half a day.[11] A follow-up exhibition opened on 31 October 1927 in the Hotel Krasnapolsky.[16]

One of the major exhibitions of her career was held at the White House, opposite the Peace Palace, also in Amsterdam, in February 1931. This was an "extremely exclusive" gallery operating on an 'invitation-only' basis, and had the benefit of not only promoting Rudeman and her work, but the cinema poster as a form of art in itself. Rudeman was, a contemporary commented, "mounting a courageous front against the bad taste of the film poster." Her original work was on sale for between 75 - 500 guilders.[14]

Post-war career and death

One of her last works before the outbreak of World War II was a work commissioned by the Committee for Warning Against Unilateral Disarmament.[15] During the war, poster production was halted, partly due to a lack of basic materials but also due to a number of people involved in the industry being deported under the Nazi occupation of Holland. Rudeman continued to live in The Hague, although was forced to move to Amsterdam in 1941 and again in 1944 due to bombing raids. She lived with her cousin, and during the occupation, they took in a Jewish man whom they successfully kept hidden from the Nazis until the end of the war.[5]

Rudeman's post-war career was mainly built around postcards, portraits and watercolours, as well as some posters, particularly for the K.N.M.V Motor Races. The 1950s, in fact, have been described as Rudeman's Golden Age; she received many good commissions, and worked for Organon (in Oss) and Mulder and Zoon in Amsterdam, which further spread her work in America. Her work at this time included decals for porcelain, jugs, vases, etc., as well as illustrations for picture books (not only works such as Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, but her own children's publications). Her partnership with Mulder ended in the 1970s, and Rudeman concentrated on children's portraits on private commission. She never again, however, received the national publicity and attention that she had before the war;[5] likewise, it has been suggested, she never found the artistic freedom she wanted.[14]

Rudeman died in Amsterdam on 21 January 1980[1][2][17] of pulmonary emphysema. There were no obituaries.[18]

Artistic style and criticism

She was known for her "bold, futuristic style",[19] being both "austere and dynamic,"[20] and the influence of early German Expressionism has been noted.[4] Although constrained by being able to work only from film stills, her portrait style has been described as "exchanging realism ... for a suggestive atmosphere."[7] Kate de Ridder has written of Rudeman's work that, whereas a female artist's work usually demonstrated a feminine touch, Rudeman's bold style was far less so.[21] De Groene Amsterdammer described the piece as making "a strong impression," whilst Het Vaderland, from The Hague, noted how "boldly drawn" it was, suggestive of the work of as much an artist as those who made the film itself.[9] The same newspaper incorrectly ascribed the poster for Potemkin to a man, and corrected this in a lengthy article describing the artist and her work, in which she was called a promising young woman[22] ("with the emphasis on young").[9] The same newspaper also described the film industry's advertising as "the epitome of ugliness," consisting of "gaudy sheets... overloaded with letters... clumsily drawn." In contrast, Rudeman's work made an immediate impact in the national press;[9] her work popularly seen as being in tune with the "modernity" of the twenties.[20] Her style and works have been compared favourably to many of her contemporaries, including Ludwig Hohlwein, Hap Hadley in the United States and the Stenberg brothers in the Soviet Union.[4] It has been defined as possessing three main identifying features: "good taste, a feel for colour and originality."[11]

Major works

It has been estimated that only about half of her oeuvre has survived,[4] of which at least 90 are extant in public and private collections.[23]

  • The Battleship Potemkin (1925): Expressionist in style, it depicts the Odessa massacre scene.[24]
  • Spanish Evening (1926): Commissioned by the Scheveningen Sea Bathing Company to promote its resort and starring La Argentina.
  • Employment Agency for Inland Shipping (1927): Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, it is possible that she deliberately used "the image language and symbolism" of socialism.
  • Circus (1928): Influenced by her time working in A. M. Cassandre's studio, she drew Chaplin's face "with as few lines as possible."[25]
  • Papitoe, Siren of the Tropics (1928): The first Hollywood film with an all-black cast; Rudeman's illustration showed the 'Black Pearl,' Josephine Baker.
  • The Jazz singer (1928): Illustrated Al Johnson made up as a black minstrel.[26]
  • Wings (1928): Portrayed a "dramatic aviator in the shadow of an airplane; this earned critical acclaim even in the United States.[12]
  • Don Quichotte (1933): A portrait of the star of the film, Feodor Chaliapin, and also Rudeman's final film poster.[27]
  • Have You Got Your Celebration Skirt Yet? (1946): Her first post-liberation work, promoting the skirt designed by Elisabeth Hannema-van Maasdijk made out of scrap fabric.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Witt Library of the Courtauld Institute (3 June 2014). Checklist of Painters from 1200–1994. Routledge. pp. 440–. ISBN 978-1-134-26406-3. 
  2. ^ a b Le Coultre, M.F. & A.W. Purvis, A Century of Posters (Zwolle: Waanders, 2003), 80–1.
  3. ^ a b Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 9. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 5. 
  5. ^ a b c d Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 22. 
  6. ^ a b Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 10. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Groot 526.
  8. ^ Groot 200.
  9. ^ a b c d e Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 8. 
  10. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 11. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 14. 
  12. ^ a b Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 15. 
  13. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 12. 
  14. ^ a b c Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 18. 
  15. ^ a b Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 21. 
  16. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. pp. 15–16. 
  17. ^ "Dolly Rudeman movie posters". www.cinematerial.com. 
  18. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 23. 
  19. ^ DK (5 January 2016). The Movie Book. Dorling Kindersley Limited. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-0-241-24872-0. 
  20. ^ a b Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 13. 
  21. ^ Groot 321.
  22. ^ "Het Potemkin-Affiche". Het Vaderland (in Dutch). 8 September 1926. p. B2. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  23. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 25. 
  24. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 7. 
  25. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. pp. 16–17. 
  26. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 19. 
  27. ^ Anink, B.; van Yperen, P. (2005). Reinders, P., ed. Pioneer of the Dutch Film Poster: Dolly Rudeman 1902-1980. Translated by Buck, R. Laren, the Netherlands: V. K. Projects. p. 20. 

Bibliography

  • Groot, Marjan (2007). Vrouwen in de vormgeving in Nederland 1880–1940. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. ISBN 978-90-6450-521-8. 
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