Taxameter – Welti-Furrer, Zurich


Creator Jules de Praetere
Asking price 8'300 CHF
Condition A
Printing technique Lithograph
Printing year 1915
Printer Graph. Werkstätten Gebr. Fretz
Sheet size (cm) 125×88.5
Categories Cars | Bikes | Racing, Zurich

Ante Uber: Original poster by the Belgian Jules de Praetere (1879-1947), advertising in 1915 the new cars of the Zurich taxi company Welti-Furrer (telephone number 10 000, 24/7) – with allusions to Ferdinand Hodler’s parallelism and the inimitable style of the German Ludwig Hohlwein.

Ten years earlier, de Praetere had already taken over the direction of the School of Arts and Crafts in Zurich, thus laying nothing less than the foundation stone for Swiss education in graphic design. Accordingly, the later founding member of the Deutscher Werkbund was one of the few pioneers in Switzerland in implementing the claim of Art Nouveau to bring together art and life (and thus the visual arts with the applied arts); he scorns the academic didactics of his time, which consists of tracing patterns and copying antiquity, and reformed the sterile training school for equally sterile draughtsmen into a lively design school that sought to catch up with developments in neighbouring countries.

Alfred Altherr (Sr.), his successor from 1913, builds on de Praetere’s reforms (even if he finds that the workshop introduced by de Praetere left too much room for the arts) and in 1918 makes advertising art, which until then had been pursued rather incidentally, an independent discipline of graphic design. Meanwhile, a similar specialist class was founded in Basel in 1915 – by, surprise, surprise, de Praetere, who took over the direction of this arts and crafts school in 1913.

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