Boudewijn Ietswaart Passes Away At Age 74
On 23 December, Dutch designer Boudewijn Ietswaart died at his home in Amsterdam, aged 74.
Ietswaart spent much of his short career as a book designer and lettering artist in Spain and Latin America, and later gave up his typographic work for scientific illustration; as a result he remained largely unknown in his own country. However, the quality and stylistic scope of his design and lettering work was remarkable, as exemplified by the phenomenal series of books, book covers and magazines he designed and illustrated during his short stay in Mexico in 1960–62 as typographic assistant to the publisher Alexandre Stols.
During the last couple of years, Ietswaart's work was rediscovered and re-evaluated by a group of Mexican, Argentinian and Dutch designers and writers grouped around the 2009 ATypI conference in Mexico City will remember El Holandés Errante, the exhibition organised by the Círculo that placed Ietswaart's work in the contexts of both the Dutch/German tradition of hand-lettered design and the Mexican cultural reality of 1960.
The group's fascination for Ietswaart's letterforms led to the design of the Balduina typeface collection published by the Círculo in 2010. Ietswaart himself was at first a bemused observer of the process of completion and digitisation of his original alphabets, but in the course of 2009 began participating more actively, correcting and even redrawing some of the Latin American designers' proposals. Ietswaarts daughter Anna let us know that her father, who in spite of a long-time illness remained lucid until the last day, was proud to learn that Balduina was featured as one of the best typeface families of 2010 in FontShop's newsletter.
Work on an exhibition and publication about Ietswaart and his work will continue through 2011.
Boudewijn Ietswaart's lettering work and the Balduina collection were examined in The Rediscovery of Bouwewijn Ietswaart, a guest post on The FontFeed by Feike de Jong.
Header image:Boudewijn Ietswaart in his Amsterdam apartment, September 2008.
Snapshot by Jan Middendorp.