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Belles Lettres: The Naked Alphabet (1971)

In 1971, Dutch artists, photographers and graphic designers Ed van der Elsken, Anna Beeke, Pieter Brattinga, Anthony Beeke, and Geert Kooiman created a human alphabet for Avant Garde MagazineNo.14: Belles Lettres – an A-to Z in nudes.

Edited by Ralph Ginzburg and art directed by Herb Lubalin, Avant Gard (published in New York; January 1968 to July 1971) was “a thoughtful, joyous magazine on art and politics”. The naked alphabet feature was an addition to Anthon Beeke’s naked ladies alphabet (1968), a protest “against the supposedly ‘dehumanising’ and thoroughly ‘indecipherable’ mechanistic alphabets”.

The nude Belles Lettres is based on the font Baskerville Old Face.

Typography is art.


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