Jack W. Stauffacher
Vines Going Mad, from the portfolio Vico Wooden Letters, 2003

Stauffacher, a printer, book designer, and craftsman based in San Francisco, has experimented with typographical conventions since the 1960s. Playfully employing traditional wood type and a primary color palette, his prints echo the works of Piet Mondrian, El Lissitzky, and László Moholy-Nagy. Arranged in a seemingly random manner, the large letterforms of his compositions hover somewhere between Russian constructivist typography and a visionary graphic landscape.

This portfolio, inspired by the philosophical prose of the Italian humanist and philosopher Giambattista Vico, integrates the familiar, sculptural wooden letters of past experiments with small lines of text — phrases extracted from Vico’s greatest work, Scienza Nuova (New Science, 1725) — set by hand in metal type. The semiabstract compositions reveal Stauffacher’s profound knowledge and appreciation of both historic typographic traditions and modern design. These intimately physical interactions of hand, type, ink, and paper expand the capabilities of type as a medium not only of communication but also of expression.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Vines Going Mad, from the portfolio Vico Wooden Letters
Artist name
Jack W. Stauffacher
Date created
printed material
relief print with wooden type
18 in. × 13 in. (45.72 cm × 33.02 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Estate of Jack W. Stauffacher
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Jack W. Stauffacher

See other works by Jack W. Stauffacher

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.