The Visual Repertoire of Willy de Majo: Translocations and Transports of Delight

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The subject of this article is Willy de Majo (1917–1993), born of Serbian-Austrian parentage in Vienna, which therefore constitutes one of the important backdrops to his young adulthood. De Majo was also Sephardi, although not uncomplicatedly so. Equivocation on these points and a Balkan dimension provide clues to the interesting ways in which this case diverges from the émigré narratives of other creative professionals of this period. De Majo was co-founder of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda), and his formative years occurred during a historical moment when ideas about empire, nation, and diaspora were intersecting and colliding with particularly percussive effect. Taking an appropriately nuanced biographical approach, this article explores the early career trajectory of a single notable individual whose identities embraced graphic designer, pilot, administrator, and man of action, and points up the fantastic complex of cultural legacies that were his inheritance. This contribution also seeks to enrich understandings of the interwar period, and some of the popular cultural products that emerged later.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-128
Number of pages24
JournalThe Leo Baeck Institute Year Book
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022


  • History
  • Cultural Studies


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