Hans Joachim Barschel (b.1912 d.1998)
Graphic designer and arts instructor, Rochester, New York
Interviewer: Robert F. Brown
Interview of Hans Joachim Barschel by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, at Barschel’s home in Rochester, New York on September 14, 1994. Barschel discusses his childhood during World War I and the 1920s in two Berlin suburbs, Charlottenburg and Pankow, as the son of a civil engineer and his wife, whose father was a factory foreman; the contrast of the ludicrous militarism of the late Wilhelmine Germany with the straightened but liberalized circumstances of life in the Weimar Republic which followed; and his first acquaintance with foreign cultures during a 1929 excursion with his free-spirited aunt and uncle. He remembers the enlightened teaching and loose curricula he experienced during 1930-35 in advertising design study with George Salter at the Municipal Art School, Berlin, and then in graduate studies in design, painting, printmaking, and photography at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, Berlin-Charlottenburg. He talks about his disgust at the onset of Naziism; his brief career (1935-37) in Berlin as a free-lance graphic designer and as head graphic designer for the Reichsbahn; his getting his beloved teacher, George Salter, a Jew, out of Nazi Germany; his emigration in 1937 using forged documents and his rapid establishment as a designer in New York thanks to his friendship with Dr. Robert Leslie of The Composing Room. He discusses advertisements, posters, and book jackets designed for American publications and companies and (1948) for the United Nations; his move to Rochester, New York, in 1952, as a designer for printing companies and beginning the teaching of design at the Rochester Institute of Technology at the invitation of Stanley Witmeyer, Director of its School of Art and Design; fellow teachers at RIT, including the ceramists, Hobart Cowles and Frans Wildenhain; and the importance of continually refreshing the creative powers by sketching in nature, a principle instilled in him as a student which he carried into his teaching at RIT.
Total: 3 digital recordings; 2:01:25; 50 pages.