Erik Nitsche (1908 – 1998) was born and studied in Switzerland before moving to the U.S. in 1934. His worked helped change the face of graphic design in the United States.
His designs were beautifully “clean”, balanced compositions with brilliant use of colour, geometry and elegant typography. Amongst his most recognisable and memorable work is a series of posters for General Dynamics where he was artistic director 1955-1960.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subjects he designed for at General Dynamics (national security, atomic energy, weapons, aircraft etc) he had to develop a sophisticated abstract visual language in which he conveyed the corporate mission of General Dynamics without depicting any of their products. In some designs by Nitsche you can see the influence of the work of artist Paul Klee who was a family friend during Eriks’ formative years.
Nitsche’s futurist “Atomic” design style was also very influential, and often copied by other designers in the 1950s.
Swann Auction Galleries in New York have an auction coming up on March 1, which features a collection of Erik Nitsche’s General Dynamics posters, from the collection of Gail Chisolm (1954-2017). Featured below is a selection from Swann Galleries catalogue. Click HERE to see the whole catalogue.
You can also view a fascinating visual archive of designs by Erik Nitsche on Flickr which includes some superb album cover designs for Decca HERE . There is also a comprehensive biographical article on Nitsche on THIS website