The educational project “Personalities of the Russian Community Abroad. 1920-1945”

Alexey Brodovitch

11.06.2020
Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Brodovitch

(1898 – 1971)

A designer, photographer and artist, actual creator of glossy magazines on fashion in the US and the whole world.

He was born in 1898. While learning at the Prince Tenisheff School during WWI, he ran away twice to join the army. Both times they put him back to the School. In 1917 Brodovitch graduated from the Corp of Pages and joined the field force where he was promoted to captain. When the Civil War began, Brodovitch joined the Volunteer Army. He was badly injured on a battlefield near Odessa. In 1920 Brodovitch and his family immigrated to France.

In Paris Brodovitch worked as a decorator for Sergey Diaghilev's  enterprise. He created posters and decorations for Diaghilev’s “Ballets Russes”, made photos of ballet dancers behind the curtains during rehearsals and costume fittings. A poster he created for a competition for a charity ball took the first place leaving even Pablo Picasso behind.

In the beginning of 1930s Brodovitch and his family moved to Philadelphia, USA, where he headed the advertising department at the Philadelphia Arts College. In addition, he was teaching design and photography. In 1934 the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar saw Brodovitch’s works and offered him a job of the art director. 

As the art director, Brodovitch changed the traditional ideas about the magazine design completely: it was for the first time ever that he made a text and photos inseparable. Soon afterwards, Brodovitch founded his own magazine – Portfolio, which presented a prototype for a fashion magazine. After Portfolio there appeared hundreds of similar magazines in the US. 

Besides, Brodovitch created “Design Laboratories” which was a real school many famous American designers and photographers attended.

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