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What was Arts et Métiers Graphiques?

AMG holdings at Rochester Institute of Technology

Why study AMG?

What is AMG Web?



What was Arts et Métiers Graphiques? Who was Charles Peignot? What was Deberny et Peignot?

Arts et Métiers Graphiques, (AMG), was a prominent French graphic arts magazine that published 68 issues from 1927 to 1939. Charles Peignot, head of the French typefoundry Deberny et Peignot, created the publication. Deberny et Peignot was the leading company of its kind in France. It manufactured not only thousands of metal type designs, but also machinery, furniture, and accessories for sale to the typesetting and printing industries.


Charles Peignot, a young visionary with presses, metal type, and personal connections at his disposal secured his legacy in graphic arts history with the publication of Arts et Métiers Graphiques. In it, he wanted to cover "all the subjects near or far from printing, of its history, and its diverse contemporary manifestations." In over ten years of publication Peignot’s wide editorial goal encompassed subjects ranging from illustration, the history of the book and printing techniques and the then-expanding disciplines of advertising design and modern art photography. The magazine also featured regular reviews of fine limited-edition books and reprints of classical literature excerpts in typographically innovative layouts. Each edition was printed on high-quality papers with frequent tipped-in plates and inserts. Until the Second World War forced the magazine to cease production, Arts et Métiers Graphiques was one of the highest standards for graphic arts magazines of its time.


AMG holdings at Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology, (RIT), in Rochester, New York is a university with noted academic programs in printing, graphic design, and photography. The entire run of Arts et Métiers Graphiques is preserved at the RIT Wallace Library to enrich the education of students in these disciplines. AMG is maintained in two of the Library's special collections: the RIT Archives and Special Collections, and the Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection. The Archives also holds related collections of European and American graphic arts magazines contemporary to AMG. The Cary Collection manages an extensive grouping of ephemera and type specimens produced by the Deberny et Peignot typefoundry in addition to its AMG holdings.


Why study AMG?

In spite of its importance in the 1930s, the content of Arts et Métiers Graphiques is rarely cited in scholarly works. Few French articles and papers have been published on the subject in the last twenty years. There have been no authoritative works dedicated to Arts et Métiers Graphiques published in English. No digital publication such as a database or website has been dedicated to the subject. Focusing locally at RIT, the magazine is rarely requested by the Institute’s students—especially those in the graphic design, photography, or printing academic programs who stand to benefit from exposure to its rich choice of subjects.


English-speakers’ disinterest in the publication may stem from a language barrier, as most of the content in Arts et Métiers Graphiques is written in French. Also, researchers may be dissuaded from perusing the magazine because its content has not been indexed. These points make clear the fact that Arts et Métiers Graphiques as a whole would better serve present researchers through translation, cataloguing, and electronic access to its content.


What is AMG Web?

To fulfill these needs, this website is an educational venue that focuses on the history of AMG, its founder Charles Peignot, and the Deberny et Peignot typefoundry. The AMG Database is the finding aid that indexes the content of the 67 issues of the magazine. The database is also bridges the language gap with French to English translations of article titles throughout the index.


It is intended that this work will provide the RIT Wallace Library with a valuable service of organizing one portion of its legacy collections. It will benefit Rochester Institute of Technology through the publication of an international resource on a little-known, yet important subject. Not least, AMG Web will hopefully facilitate student interest in the history of the graphic arts and its use as a tool for inspiration and enhanced learning.


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