Massimo Vignelli, ‘Melting Pot 1976 (United States is the Melting Pot, or America the Melting Pot)’, 1989, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera
Massimo Vignelli, ‘Melting Pot 1976 (United States is the Melting Pot, or America the Melting Pot)’, 1989, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera
Massimo Vignelli, ‘Melting Pot 1976 (United States is the Melting Pot, or America the Melting Pot)’, 1989, Alpha 137: Prints and Exhibition Ephemera

Unframed.

America the Melting Pot is one of the most iconic designs by the legendary graphic designer Massimo Vignelli. Though this limited edition, hand signed silkscreen was created decades ago, we need not remind the world that its message: the United States is a wonderful melting pot of diverse cultures -- is more urgent and resonant these days than ever. (All the more so, as Vignelli himself was a first generation immigrant to the U.S., who famously never mastered the English language -- but was the poet laureate of the international language of design!) Indeed, "Melting Pot" is a brilliantly designed work of art, incorporating typesets and torn pages from vintage newspapers in multiple languages, including El Diario, the New York Post, the New York Times, Il Progresso, Novoe Russkoe Slovo, etc. It would look magnificent in any home or office; a great conversation piece and a bold statement of multi-cultural inclusion. The bottom edge is deckled, so it would look magnificent when floated and framed. Although Vignelli is one of the most influential and prolific designers, he rarely did limited edition signed silkscreens; indeed, the publisher believes this edition of 300 signed and numbered silkscreens in fact was a one-off. The publisher of this work was a personal friend of the artist and persuaded him to do this magnificent screenprint. (She recounts that it was based on a collage Vignelli did of newspapers, but given the acidity and ephemeral nature of newspapers, it was clear that the collage would not hold; at that point the publisher persuaded Vignelli to make a limited edition silkscreen based on the collage - and the result was this enduring image!) Years later, Vignelli was approached to reprise this design, but make the news more "happy", as he was criticized for the dark realism of some of the clippings; but he categorically refused, so Vignelli's 1989 "Melting Pot" remains his first, only, and definitive edition.

The photos do not do justice to the work; it is a masterpiece of design, signed in Vignelli's truly inimitable hand, and pencil numbered from the edition of 300. This striking, large-scale screenprint reflects Vignelli's love for his adopted country, the United States, celebrating the diverse views, cultures, languages and beliefs that make up the American social landscape. It is dated 1976/1989, as it was created by Vignelli in 1976 for the US bicentennial but printed later in 1989. The provenance of this piece is direct and impeccable, as we are selling it on behalf of the publisher - a personal friend of the late artist. Vignelli was celebrated around the world for his enduring and innovative contributions to modern design; but to those of us here in New York City, he was best known and loved by for designing the iconic subway maps that were used for decades - which people like me grew up on! In fine original condition; never framed. Offered at an extremely reasonable price range.

As additional provenance, buyer will be furnished with a hand signed tirage/documentation sheet with full information about the edition, proofs, publisher, paper, etc.
--Courtesy of Alpha 137 Gallery

Signature: Pencil signed and dated lower right in Massimo Vignelli's exquisite and truly inimitable signature; pencil numbered lower left - unique number from the limited edition of 300. Unframed; never framed and in fine (original) condition with a stunning deckled bottom edge so it would look terrific when floated and framed. Also, accompanied by a tirage/documentation sheet hand signed by Vignelli's publisher, providing extensive details about the edition, the number of PP's, APs, paper, etc. (accompanying this lot but not shown for security reasons)

Alpha 137 is selling this work on behalf of the publisher of this iconic print, so the provenance is direct and irrefutable.

About Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli shaped the visual landscape of mid-century America and created designs that we continue to encounter to this day. In collaboration with his wife Lella, the Italian designer established now-familiar corporate identities for companies such as American Airlines, Knoll International, and Bloomingdales. He also designed the network of signage used to navigate the New York City subway. In use since 1972, Vignelli’s wayfinding system identifies subway lines by numbers and letters set within colored circles, and his graphic signs feature highly legible white-on-black text intended to help millions find their way across the city. Vignelli’s clean, grid-based compositions, dynamic application of color, and commitment to sans-serif typefaces set a standard for American graphic design, particularly in public institutions, and established Helvetica as the country’s most ubiquitous font.

Italian, 1931-2014