Graphic designer Anthon Beeke dies aged 78
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Graphic designer Anthon Beeke dies aged 78

Graphic designer Anthon Beeke dies aged 78

Dutch graphic designer Anthon Beeke, the creator of the 1969 Naked Ladies typeface, has passed away aged 78 following a stroke.

Based in Amsterdam, Beeke was renowned for his provocative poster designs that explored themes of love, sex and violence for clients including theatre groups Zuidelijk Toneel Globe and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, and the art fair KunstRai.

Beeke's death on 25 September 2018 was confirmed in a statement.

"On Tuesday afternoon, September the 25, 2018, the esteemed Dutch graphic designer Anthon Beeke died in his home city of Amsterdam as the result of a cerebral infarction," it read.

Born in 1940 in Amsterdam, Beeke learnt graphic design without any formal training. He worked as an assistant for designers including Ed Callahan in Germany, Janvan Toorn in The Netherlands, and Jacques Richez in France, before starting as an independent designer.

In 1976, he was made a partner at agency Total Design in Amsterdam, but left in 1981 to set up his own agency titled Studio AnthonBeeke.

Survived by his trend forecaster wife

He is survived by his parter, the renowned Dutch trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort.

"Anthon thought and acted absurdly. He loved the theatre and pantomime and could provoke the public like a cultural clown. His whole existence was shaped by graphic design," Edelkoort wrote in her 2013 book, an hommage to Beeke titled It's a Miracle.

"He is not only the poster boy of design but also the poetic image-maker, the naughty collector, the naive player, the avid photographer or the potent architect of collage layouts that are realised far before the cut-and-paste era," she explained.

Among those paying tribute to the designer was Studio Roosegaarde, which wrote on Twitter, "R.I.P. Anthon Beeke, was amazing to work with you".

Provocative designer and teacher

Some of Beeke's best-known works include his erotic theatre posters for Toneelgroep Amsterdam and poster series for Amsterdam-based art fair the KunstRai, in which he portrayed his take on prominent cultural figures from the arts – including Daan Roosegaarde, Wim Pijbes and Gerardjan Rijnders – each dressed in personalised masks.

He founded and headed the Man and Communication department at the Design Academy of Eindhoven between 1985 and 1997, but continued working at the institution until 2008.

Many of Beeke's designs have won awards, including the Amsterdam Award for the Arts, formerly known as the H.N. Werkman Prize, and the Frans Cocq Medal from the City.