|George Him was born in Lodz, Poland (then in Russia) in 1900, the son of a well-to-do shoe manufacturer called Himmelfarb. He went to school in Warsaw, studied Roman Law at the State University Moscow (1917-18), Berlin and Bonn Universities (1920-24), obtaining a Ph.D in Comparative Religion at Bonn. Still unsatisfied, he changed course and spent four years studying at the Academy for Graphic Arts, Leipzig (1925-28). From 1928 he practised as a graphic designer. For a while he freelanced in Germany, but there was not much work there and he returned to Poland in 1933, where he met Jan Lewitt.|
As the Lewitt-Him partnership, Jan Lewitt and George Him established themselves as designers of distinction in Poland, and their work also became known internationally through magazines like Gebrauchsgraphik.
They were invited to exhibit their work at the gallery of Lund Humphreys in 1937 and because they liked London they decided to stay. They were key figures in the influx of artistic talent arriving in Britain from the rest of Europe at that time under the impetus of the threat of persecution by the Nazis and the prospect of war.
During the 21 years of their collaboration they produced work of outstanding originality and quality. Their first children's book illustrations for Lokomotywa, or the Locomotive, by Julien Tuwim published in Poland c. 1934 is generally considered a masterpiece.
The Lewitt-Him partnership was dissolved in 1954. Subsequently George Him continued his practice as a free-lance designer and design consultant and was active into old age in all fields of graphic design: publicity, exhibitions, corporate identity operations, book design etc.
Besides posters, George Him illustrated many books, notably Don Quixote and Zuleika Dobson and many delightful children's books like The Little Red Engine gets a Name (by Diana Ross, illustrated by Lewitt-Him) and the Giant Alexander books by Frank Herrmann.
Shortly after World War 2, he contributed to the "Britain can make it" exhibition (1946) and to the Festival of Britain(1951) in which Lewitt-Him designed murals for the Education Pavilion and the Guiness Festival Clock in Battersea Park.
In the field of publicity George Him is remembered for his campaigns for American Airlines and the exploration of the fabulous "County of Schweppshire", with the Canadian Stephen Potter. The latter campaign ran for a total of 15 years.
He designed toys and animated films and painted topographical landscapes.
After the establishment of the State of Israel he was active on a
number of projects connected with Istrael and the Jews. He designed a Warsaw
Ghetto exhibition which was shown twice in London and once in Frankfurt
There were exhibitions of his work at the London College of Printing in 1976 and at the Ben Uri in 1980, where he showed originals for book illustrations and some delightful and informal sketches from his travels.
Himmelfarb = Sky Blue in German
Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library,
Archive of Art and Design, Blythe
House, 23 Blythe Road, London W14 0QF
Leila Berg (ed) Folk Tales (1966). Little Nippers (1975)
Cervantes Don Quixote (1980)
Frank Herrmann The Giant Alexander (1964). The Giant Alexander and the Circus (1966)
George Him The Football's Revolt (with Jan Lewitt, 1939), Polish Panorama (with Jan Lewitt 1941). Israel, the Story of a Nation (1958) 25 Years of the Youth Aliyah. Facts about Israel (1961)
Alina Lewitt. Blue Peter (with Jan Lewitt, 1943), Five Silly Cats (with Jan Lewitt 1944)
Jim Rogerson King Wilbur the Third (1976). King Wilbur the Third and the Bicycle (1976). King Wilbur the Third Rebuilds his Palace (1976). King Wilbur the Third's Birthday Present (1976)
Diana Ross The Little Red Engine gets a Name (with Jan Lewitt. 1942).
Ann Thwaite The Day with the Duke (1969)
Julien Tuwim Lokomotywa (with Jan Lewitt 1934)
Covers for The New Middle East