Hans J Barschel was born in Berlin 1912. It is here that he studied with the famous book designer George Salter at the Municipal Art School and went on to graduate at the Kunsthochschule, the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts.
After completing his education Barschel practiced design in Berlin, opening his own studio Atelier für Werbegraphik, in 1935.
Becoming disenchanted with life in Germany Barschel moved to New York where he met up with his teacher George Salter’s brother Stephan, and Dr Robert Leslie, owner of the typography company ,The Composing Room.
With a little help from friends Barschel soon had a busy free lance design and illustration practice that would keep him at the top of the field in New York for fifteen years.
His commissions included designs for book jackets, advertisements, magazine covers illustrations and posters. His clients included United Airlines, New York Central Railroad, Steel, Horizons magazine, Town and Country magazine, Harry Abrams’s Book of the Month Club, Standard Oil of New Jersey, the United Nations and many others, he designed progressive pharmaceutical graphics for CIBA, Sharp and Dohme and La Roche.
His five covers for Fortune magazine, done between 1937 and 1942, were perhaps his most prestigious assignments.
Barschel’s progressive style, although realistic, often bordered on the abstract, he was a master craftsman combining the airbrush and other techniques. His concepts were imaginative and his technique was flawless. His designs show a strong contrasting feeling of space between foreground and background reminiscent of Surrealist art. He used rich colours and successfully integrated the typographic elements with the pictorial and symbolic.