Eugênio Hirsch

Discovering traces of a forgotten surrealist/pop artist is always nice and weird. That's why I'm happy to present here some data on Eugênio Hirsch--a name I believe will be little-known to English-speaking art-lovers.

I took the liberty of having Google translate his Spanish Wikipedia entry, and then cleaned up the text a bit.

Eugênio Hirsch (Vienna, 1923 - Rio de Janeiro, September 23 2001) was a visual artist of Austrian origin, considered one of the pioneers of Brazilian graphic design.

Eugênio Hirsch was born in Vienna, Austria in 1923. Given the imminence of World War II his family emigrated in 1938 to Argentina, where Hirsch was highlighted as a graphic artist. During his stay in Argentina, he lived in Buenos Aires where he worked for the Encyclopedia Codex. In 1947 he met Monteiro Lobato, who illustrated texts mentioned in the editorial. He also lived in San Miguel de Tucuman where he worked with Lino Spilimbergo Enea.

In 1955 he emigrated to Brazil. Beginning in 1960 he was hired by the publisher "Civilização Brasileira" and in a short time revolutionized the concept and design of book covers, becoming one of the biggest names in this specialty. In 1960 he won the Jabuti Award (highest distinction in the field Brazilian literary and artistic). He was considered a pioneer of graphic design with decisive influence on subsequent generations. One of his favorite quote was "Uma feita layer is to attack, did not to please" ( "A cap is used to attack, not to please"). In 1965 he traveled to the United States where he collaborated with Playboy magazine and then to Europe, but then returned to his adoptive country, Brazil.

Among his most famous works include the illustration done for the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. He was also recalled for his eccentric personality.

Eugênio Hirsch died in Rio de Janeiro on September 23, 2001.

You can see some of his book covers on this Flickr page. But my favorite is this one he did for the novel Flesh by the great Philip Jose Farmer.

How did I chance upon Hirsch's work? Through this pictorial in Playboy for December 1965. The mildly NSFW totality of the feature is to be found after the jump.





     Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 10, 2008
     Category: Art | Pop Art | Surrealism | History | Historical Figure | Literature | Books | Science Fiction | Magazines | Sexuality | Sex Symbols | World | Europe | South America

Donna--granted, the whole concept of the women as animals is rather juvenile. But that was indeed the Playboy atmosphere circa 1965. Hirsch's book covers, I think you'll admit, are more sophisticated.
Posted by Paul on 08/10/08 at 12:10 PM
Old Iron--I too admired the playfulness and craft of these "human collages."
Posted by Paul on 08/11/08 at 11:37 AM
ClaireLouise--you probably had that issue in your home!
Posted by Paul on 08/12/08 at 10:15 AM
John C--the constraints of censorship can indeed lead to a higher artistry! Glad you dug this blast from the less-raunchy past!
Posted by Paul on 08/12/08 at 10:16 AM
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