Dorrit Dekk

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Dorrit Dekk (18 May 1917 – 29 December 2014) was a Czech-born British graphic designer, printmaker and painter.

Early life[edit]

She was born Dorothy Karoline Fuhrmann in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on 18 May 1917.[1]

She trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna from 1936-1938, where she was taught by the stage designer Otto Niedermoser and contributed to designs for the theatre and film director Max Reinhardt.[2] Following the Anschluss in 1938, Dekk escaped to London, where she took up a place at the Reimann School through a scholarship arranged by Niedermoser and specialised in graphic design.

Career[edit]

Following the closure of the Reimann School in 1939, Dekk joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and became a 'listener', taking down coded messages by hand which were then sent to Bletchley Park for deciphering.[3] At the end of the war, she joined the design studio of what was to become the Central Office of Information, working under Reginald Mount. During her two and a half years, she designed numerous government posters, including the iconic Ministry of Health's poster 'Trap the Germs in Your Handkerchief'.[4]

Leaving in 1948 to become a freelance designer, Dekk's clients included Air France, the Orient Shipping Line (latterly P&O Orient Line), the Post Office Savings Bank, Trust House Forte, Penguin, The Tatler and London Transport. She also worked as a designer for the Travelling Section of the Festival of Britain, creating the mural 'British Sports and Games'.[5] In 1956, she became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists.[6]

She retired from her graphic design practice in 1982, but continued to work as a painter and printmaker right up until her death in December 2014.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1940, she married Leonard Klatzow, a South African physicist. He had a key role in the invention of the cathode-ray tube and infrared night vision for the navy. He died in 1942, following a plane crash.[1] In 1968, she married Kurt Epstein and they remained together until his death in 1990.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Games, Naomi (7 January 2015). "Dorrit Dekk obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Artmonsky, 93
  3. ^ Artmonsky, 95.
  4. ^ Artmonsky, 96.
  5. ^ 'Dorrit Dekk' on the London Transport Museum's website. Date accessed: 4 February 2014.
  6. ^ Artmonsky, 96.

Further reading[edit]