Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974
Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974
Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974
Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974
Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974

Sigmar Polke: Works on Paper 1963–1974

COMA (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), New York, New York, 1999


We faced the prospect of designing a book for an artist we very much admire. Polke’s boundless creativity, infectious good humor, unique vision, deep and far-reaching knowledge of art historical and contemporary issues and provocative combinations of text and image challenge our assumptions about what painting and drawing—and perhaps book design, too—should be.

Given the varied nature of Polke’s drawings, our design strategy was, above all, to highlight the drawings, their subject matter and their materiality. We wanted readers to see the drawings first, before turning to the book’s details or character. By developing a classic layout, choosing bright white uncoated paper and silhouetting individual works of art—as well as placing tiny layout maps alongside captions to provide unencumbered reference—we kept our design in the background, allowing the imagination and exuberance of Polke’s drawing to come to the fore. We also integrated elements from Polke’s own work into our design in subtle ways. Groups of drawings are separated by double spreads of color borrowed from the spectrum provided in Untitled (Dots), 1963, a work wrapped around the book’s cover. And the text’s sans serif type is presented in a ballpoint blue appropriated from Polke’s own pen drawings.

Collections: 50 Books/50 Covers of 1999
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book


Design firm
COMA (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Art directors/creative directors
Cornelia Blatter, Marcel Hermans
Cornelia Blatter, Marcel Hermans
Production coordinator
Marc Sapir
Margit Rowell (curator and author), Joanne Greenspun (editor), Michael Semff, Bice Curiger
Trim size
8 3/8 x 10 3/8 inches
Quantity printed
News Gothic
Stamperia Valdonega SRL (Verona, Italy)
140 gsm Biancoflash
Binding method
Smyth-sewn, paper and hard cover, 8-page signature (special Lay-flat binding)
Binding materials
140 gsm Sirio Limone with blind stamping over 3 mm binders board
140 gsm uncoated printed 1/1
Museum of Modern Art (New York)