Für Anna SimonsOlli Kolibabka
Die Wiedererweckung der Schriftkunst
In various periods between 1905 and 1933 Anna Simons taught lettering in the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The influence of Anna (and via Anna, her former teacher Edward Johnston) permeated through German education and type design. She sought Durchgeistigung (spiritualisation) and the re-awakening of lettering as an important daily activity. Anna was always with us in Raum 106, Olli Kolibabka went further and looked for her in Prien.
Haiku and verse written by Olli Kolibabka
Slowly gildest thouLetter for letter these wordsThy hearts pure snow.
for Anna Simonsby olli
First I searchedthe graveyardbut found only grave by grave
Through Prien I walked and throughthe woods there was your oldhouse so solemn and deadand instilled with humilityundertook Ia sonnettand that turned outcrap
good thingit was snowing‘cause thesnow andthe poem:them, they like each other.
Biography of Anna Simons:
Scribe, lettering artist, teacher and type designer. Born 8 June 1871 in Mönchengladbach.
1896 − 1903:
attended the Royal College of Art, London.‘At the time of Mr [Edward] Johnston’s appointment [in 1902] to the Royal College of Art I had the good fortune to be a student there for at that time women students were not admitted to Prussian Arts and Crafts Schools’. (Quoted from Anna Simons, Edward Johnston and English Lettering, 1937)
1905 − 10:
taught lettering course for art teachers at the newly organised Düsseldorf Kunstakademie upon the recommendation of Johnston; she was assistant to the director Peter Behrens (with whom she produced the lettering of the German Reichstag).
Simons brought an exhibition of English book art to Weimar, later shown in Berlin, and Hamburg in 1910. She translated Johnston’s influential Writing and Illuminating and Lettering of 1906, published in German 1910.
taught lettering course at Neubabelsberg; the director was Peter Behrens.
taught at the Munich Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule; organised an exhibition of German book art in London.
designed titles and initials for Bremer Press (as Johnston had done earlier for the Doves Press in London).
Secretary, English Committee to the special exhibition of women’s art, Die Frau im Buchgewerbe und in der Graphik, part of the international exhibition (Bugra) in Leipzig; member, Women’s Guild of Arts, London.
taught lettering courses in Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Hamburg and Zurich.
commissions from the publisher DreI Masken.
1928 − 33:
taught lettering at the Staatliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf.
1928 − 34:
taught the lettering class (Schriftschreibekurs) at the Staatsschule für angewandte Kunst, Munich.In about 1934 she gave Berthold Wolpe letters of introduction to her friends in England when Wolpe was preparing to leave Nazi Germany. ‘…[I]n World War II, during the bombing of Munich, the Bremer Presse building was demolished with complete loss of documentary material, and Anna Simons’s personal belongings and collections were lost too, when her home was likewise destroyed. She was able to salvage few examples of her work. Later, gravely ill, she was cared for by relatives and spent her last years in Prien on the Chiemsee in Bavaria.’ (Abrams, 1986)
Simons died in Prien 2 April 1951 shortly before her 80th birthday.
‘She was one of the best students Johnston ever had and certainly one of those who exercised the greatest influence afterwards, for she disseminated his teaching throughout Germany where it was perhaps more fruitful, even, than in England.’ (P. Johnston, 1959)
This biography is based on Gerald Cinamon’s comprehensive text on germandesigners.net