Stefan Schlesigner was born in Vienna in 1896. He moved to the Netherlands in 1925, where he worked for Van Houten's chocolate, Metz department store, printing firm Trio and many other clients. He died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1944. His typefaces:
- Rondo (1948), at the Lettergieterij, co-designed with Dick Dooijes (published in 1948 after Schlesinger's death). Rondo Bold is from 1954. Mecanorma later added Rondo to its (phototype) library. For digital versions, see Castcraft's OPTI Rondo, Minuet (2007, Canada Type's version of Rondo), and Mecanorma's Rondo.
- The Western "italienne" slab serif font Hidalgo (1939, Lettergieterij Amsterdam). Canada Type explains: In the late 1930s, old Egyptiennes (or Italiennes) returned to the collective consciousness of European printers and type houses, especially in France where Le Figaro newspaper was seeing record circulation numbers. In 1939 both Monotype and Lettergieterij Amsterdam thought of the same idea: Make a new typeface similar to the reverse stress slab shapes that make up the titles of newspapers like Le Figaro and Le Frondeur. Both foundries intended to call their new type Figaro. Monotype finished theirs first, so they ended up with the name, and their type was already published when Stefan Schlesinger finished his take for the Amsterdam foundry. Schlesinger's type was renamed Hidalgo (Spanish for a lower nobleman, son of something) and published in 1940 as "a very happy variation on an old motif". Although it wasn't a commercial success at the time, it was well received and considered subtler and more refined than the similar types available, Figaro and Playbill. In the Second World War, the Germans banned the use of the type, and Hidalgo never really recovered. In 2017, Hans van Maanen (Canada Type) revived and expanded Hidalgo as Basilio.
- He was working on the calligraphic script typeface Saranna (1941). As explained by Canada Type: The story of Serena is a unique one among revivals. Serena was neither a metal typeface nor a film one. In fact it never went anywhere beyond Stefan Schlesinger's 1940-41 initial sketches (which he called Saranna). A year later, while working with Dick Dooijes on the Rondo typeface, Schlesinger was sent to a concentration camp where he died, along with any material prospects for the gorgeous letters he'd drawn. The only sketches left of Schlesinger's Saranna work are found in the archives of the Drukkerij Trio (the owner of which was Schlesinger's brother-in-law). The sketches were done in pencil and ink over pencil on four sheets of paper. And now Hans van Maanen revives Schlesinger's spirit as closely as the drawings permit. Hans Van Maanen thus digitized Serena (2007, Canada Type's take on Saranna). Malou Osendarp is also working on a revival of Saranna.
Author of Voorbeelden van Moderne Opschriften voor Schilders en Tekenaars (NV Kosmos, Amsterdam). Cherries.
Klingspor Museum page
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