In Memoriam Anthon Beeke (1940 -2018)

As ‘visually irritating’ he explained his approach in 1970 in an interview to Dutch network NCRV. In a period dominated by neatness, clarity and ledgebility, Anthon Beeke took the opposite stance. His ‘Naked Alphabeth’ reacted playfully to ‘New Alphabeth’ Wim Crouwel designed for the yet non-existentant personal computer. ‘My alphabeth, while equally useless, was much nicer to look at’. Always smiling Beeke juxtaposed the ruler strictness of Helvetica to the provocative liberalism of Fluxus and Provo. Acknowledging himself ‘an Amsterdam streetkid’ by nature, he was mainly self taught, apart from a few years of evening classes. Amsterdam always remained the home he loved and where he died yesterday aged 78. In the sixties Beeke began his career designing board games and packaging for Hausemann & Hötte later branded ‘Jumbo’ selling popular family games like Stratego and Pim Pam Pet. It was his ‘nude girls alphabeth’ that launched his career as a graphic designer, applying the lingo of Pop culture to a remarkable series of posters for Toneelgroep Amsterdam and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam where he collaborated intensely with director Wim Beeren. As a teacher and mentor he groomed major graphic designers like René Knip, Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulsman, Dingeman Kuilman and Studio Boot. The latter, In cooperation with Beeke’s friend Lidewij Edelkoort, compiled a large overview of his portfolio in 2013 ‘Anthon Beeke. It’s a miracle’. We met Anthon at Voorlinden last Spring. Lovely as always.

(picture Anthon Beeke at Piet Hein Eek )

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The famous 'Nude girls alphabeth'
The book about his work.
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