Jan Lewitt (1907
Jerzy Him (1900 - 1981)
Jan Le Witt and George Him were a comparative rarity, a
graphic design duo; signing their work as 'Lewitt-Him' they brought an
innovative use of colour, imaginative abstraction and symbolism to commercial
design. Both Polish by birth, they arrived in London in 1937, sponsored
by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Lund Humphries. They established
their reputation for fine poster work in World War II, and for their exhibition
work with their much loved Guinness Clock at the Festival of Britain.
In Poland their illustrations for Lokomotywa helped make it a children's
classic and they continued with book illustration throughout their partnership.
Of very different temperaments and artistic interests the partnership
lasted some twenty years, to January 1955, when Le Witt left to develop
his career as an artist. Him continued his commitment to graphic design
- illustration, exhibitions and general commercial work - most remarkable
of which were his witty illustrations marrying Stephen Potter's texts
for Schweppes - 'Schweppshire', one of the longest lasting advertisement
campaigns. Hoepli on line
The Lewitt-Him Design Partnership
Jan Lewitt and George Him began working together as the Lewitt-Him design
partnership in 1933, shortly after George Him returned to Poland from
Germany. Lewitt-Him established themselves as designers of distinction
in Poland, and soon became known internationally through magazines like
Gebrauchsgraphik. They remained in partnership for 21 years.
In 1937 they were invited to exhibit their work at the gallery of Lund
Humphreys and because they liked London they decided to stay. They were
key figures in the influx of artistic talent arriving in Britain from
the rest of Europe at that time, under the impetus of the threat of persecution
by the Nazis and the imminent prospect of war.
During the 21 years of their collaboration they produced work of outstanding
originality and quality. Their first children's book Lokomotywa, or the
Locomotive, published in Poland in 1934, is generally considered a masterpiece.
Faber and Faber commissioned Lewitt-Him to illustrate The Little Red Engine
gets a Name by Diana Ross (1942), which is a classic of its period.
During World War II Lewitt-Him worked for the British Ministry of Information,
the Post Office, the Ministry of Food and others, also for the Polish
and Dutch Governments in exile producing mainly posters. These were ahead
of their time, distinguished, vivacious and witty. The Vegatabull and
Shank's Pony are still remembered.
Shortly after World War 2, the Lewitt-Him Partnership contributed to the
"Britain can make it" exhibition of 1946 and to the Festival
of Britain (1951) designing murals for the Education Pavilion and the
Guiness Festival Clock in Battersea Park.