• Ground Floor Gallery
    • Alphabet Magic: Gudrun & Hermann Zapf and the World They Designed
      February 20 - April 27, 2019

      2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of both Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. Hermann Zapf’s contribution to type design and calligraphy is immeasurable. His typographic work alone has greatly expanded the language of letterforms through ubiquitous fonts such as Palatino, Optima, and Zapfino (to name a few). Zapf’s typefaces have become among the most used – and most admired – of all time and he is arguably the most important type designer of the 20th century.

      No less important, though perhaps less well known, is his work in typography and book design. Zapf has also been at the forefront of type technology. His Marconi alphabet design was the first typeface ever created specifically for digital typography.

      Also noteworthy is Zapf’s calligraphic art. It first became widely disseminated in his writing manual Pen and Graver (1949), and has since been seen in numerous books and exhibitions, and has been a major influence on generations of calligraphers.

      In 1951 Hermann Zapf married Gudrun von Hesse. She is a master in her own right and across several disciplines. In addition to a remarkable career in the fields of calligraphy and type design, she is recognized as one of the finest bookbinders of the 20th and 21st centuries.

      This retrospective commemorates the 100th birthdays and influential work and careers of Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse.

      The show draws mainly on two collections: The Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Dr. Steven K. Galbraith is curator, and the private collection of Jerry Kelly, a leading calligrapher, book designer, type designer and typographer, who has co-curated the show with Dr. Galbraith.

      A major biography of Hermann Zapf and a complete checklist of the exhibition will be published to coincide with the show. In addition, a film on the work of Gudrun and Hermann Zapf, “Alphabet Magic,” will be screened during the run of the exhibition.
      Film Screening: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      The New York premiere of "Alphabet Magic: The Work of Gudrun and Hermann Zapf", a film by Alexandra Albrand. No charge, but reservations requested by contacting Grolier Club Administrative Assistant Maev Brennan at 212-838-6690 or

      Free Lunchtime Exhibition Tours:
       March 13 and April 12, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The Curators will lead free public tours of the exhibition. No reservations necessary.

      Panel Discussion: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
      The Zapf Centennial: A Symposium at The Grolier Club
      Held in connection with the exhibition "Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann & Gudrun Zapf." Reception follows.
      Speakers: Julian Waters (Gettysburg, PA), Ferdinand Ulrich (Germany), Robert Bringhurst (Vancouver, Canada), and David Pankow (Rochester, NY). No charge, but reservations requested by contacting Grolier Club Administrative Assistant Maev Brennan at 212-838-6690 or

  • Second Floor Gallery
    • "A Matter of Size: Miniature Texts & Bindings" from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner
      March 5 – May 18, 2019

      Size does matter. In this collection of diminutive books and bindings the size restriction ranges from a grand height of 4 inches to less than 1 millimeter. Spanning 4,500 years, on view are 275 miniature examples of cuneiform tablets and other antiquities, medieval manuscripts, early printed books, and contemporary artists’ books and design bindings representing a variety of artistic styles. The tiny tomes are from the extensive collection of Patricia J. Pistner and have been selected by Jan Storm van Leeuwen and Ms. Pistner.

      Free Lunchtime Exhibition Tours: March 6 and April 24, 1:00 - 2:00 PM; May 18 3:00-4:00 PM.
      The Curator will lead free guided tours of the exhibition. No reservations necessary.

Visiting the Grolier Club

47 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge


Celebrating the Art & History of the Book Since 1884

For further information, please contact:
Susan Flamm
Public Relations Consultant to the Grolier Club
Jennifer Sheehan
Exhibitions and Communications Manager
212-838-6690 x 2

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