Elly Gross > About the Exhibition > Letters and Illuminations

 The Book Art of Elly Gross

This exhibit, held in the 90th year of Elly Gross’s life, is a tribute to the work of one of Israel’s most important graphic designers. All the exhibits in the exhibitions are part of Elly Gross’s rich, personal archive, which she donated to the National Library of Israel in 2009.
At the heart of the exhibition is the main aspect of Elly Gross’s work: the design of dust jackets and the illustration and design of Hebrew books. For 40 years, from 1942 to 1982, Elly Gross designed and illustrated hundreds of dust jackets for books published in Israel. These works, which were notable for their originality, often became the trademark of those books and set new criteria for the design of the Hebrew book.
The exhibits offer a rare glimpse into the studio of the design artist. They tell us a great deal about the complex work processes involved in the design of a dust jacket, from the first, early draft, to the final print product.
We have chosen to exhibit here a very small part of Elly Gross’s work in other areas, those not related to the world of the book. Nevertheless, we are convinced that they help to understand the weighty task Elly Gross took upon herself, to which she related with utmost seriousness during all the years of her work: the design of an original Hebrew product.
"In the various works involving Hebrew writing [...] the design of Hebrew lettering, I paid particular note to the following aspects: [...] archeological findings and ancient manuscripts [...] I designed each entire alphabet in a uniform and unique style with special attention to its legibility as well as to the creation of a flowing and harmonious graphic continuity. I tried to adapt the design of the letter and creation of the writing image to the subject of the work and its typographical demands, without losing the unique character of the Hebrew letter. For each dust jacket, I came up with a unique design consistent with the spirit of the book. I avoided all influence of the Latin letter. In my teaching, I cultivated these design values while underscoring the beauty of the Hebrew letter and its importance as a cultural factor, in daily life too."
Elly Gross