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ABOUT

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon is a San Francisco-based artist, graphic and landscape designer, and writer. Born in 1928, Solomon first worked as a dancer before studying painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute. After the death of her husband in 1956, Solomon moved to Basel, Switzerland to study graphic design at the Basel Art Institute with Armin Hoffman. She later studied Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Best known for her interior Supergraphics of the 1960s Sea Ranch and her 1991 Ribbon of Light installation at the Embarcadero Promenade in San Francisco, her iconic style of mixing Swiss Modernism and West Coast Pop, pioneered the look of the California Cool - an important moment in graphic design history.

Her works have been exhibited in galleries around the world from Paris to New York, and is currently on permanent exhibition at SFMOMA. Now in her 80s and still working on her craft, Barbara has turned her attention to a smaller canvas, creating pieces that tell not just one story, but many, and make a single page dance well beyond its borders. 

*Barbara pictured with her granddaughter at the 2016 SFMOMA Gallery Re-Opening
 

*Portrait of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon taken from the ‘Signs of Life’ article, featured in Progressive Architecture Magazine 1966

"Barbara Stauffacher Solomon trained first as a dancer in her native San Francisco, and then as a recently widowed mother of one, she traveled to 1950s Switzerland where she studied graphic design under Armin Hoffman. So assiduously did she absorb 'The Master's' hard line Modernist doctrine that even when she returned to America to work as a jobbing designer, she doggedly stuck to the rigours of Swiss design at a time when, as she notes, 'psychedelic squiggles' were the norm...

Despite her varied and inspirational career, she is best known for the epoch defining Supergraphics she did for Sea Ranch in 1960s California. Her masterwork (painted over shortly after she created it) is a radical graphic statement that can stand comparison with the work of many far more celebrated occupants of the graphic design canon. The history of Supergraphics would be very different were it not for Barbara Stauffacher Solomon." -

Adrian Shaughnessy, Editor SUPERGRAPHICS