Henry Wolf was an Austrian-born, American graphic designer, photographer and art director. He influenced and energized magazine design during the 1950s and 1960s with his bold layouts, elegant typography, and whimsical cover photographs while serving as art director at Esquire, Bazaar, and Show magazines. Wolf opened his own photography studio, Henry Wolf Productions, in 1971, while also teaching magazine design and photography classes. In 1976 Wolf was awarded the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and in 1980 he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.
Henry Wolf was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria on May 23, 1925. With Hitler in power in 1938, his secure childhood in Vienna ended, and his family left Austria and began a three-year odyssey through France and North Africa. Wolf studied art in Paris, but after hiding from the Germans and living in two detention camps in Morocco, the family relocated to the United States in 1941. Wolf joined the Army in 1943, serving with an intelligence unit in the Pacific until 1946.
Wolf worked with photographers Richard Avedon, Melvin Sokolsky and Art Kane before he launched his own photography studio on the upper East Side of New York. Wolf became the art director of Esquire in 1952, his designs becoming the sophisticated image for which Esquire is now known. In 1958, Wolf became the art director of Harper's Bazaar, succeeding Alexey Brodovitch. Wolf worked with Richard Avedon, and Man Ray. After working for three years for the Harper's Bazaar, Wolf left to start a new magazine, Show, for A&P Heir Huntington Hartford.
In 1952, Wolf became art director for Esquire, and then succeeded Alexey Brodovitchat Harper's Bazaar Harper's Bazaar, in 1958. After three years Wolf left to start a new progressive arts magazine, Show, Show, for A&P Heir Huntington Hartford.
And in 1965 Wolf began working for McCann Erickson where he directed high-profile advertisement campaigns like Alka Seltzer, Buick, Gillette and Coca-Cola. Wolf later joined advertising executive, Jane Trahey, forming Trahey/Wolf, serving as vice president and creative director. For the next few years, Wolf worked on many commercial campaigns, including Saks Fifth Avenue and I Magnin, as well as advertisements for Xerox, IBM, Revlon, De Beers, Blackgama Mink, Charles of the Ritz, Elizabeth Arden, and Union Carbide.
In 1971 Wolf launched Henry Wolf Productions, a studio devoted to photography, film and design. For the next three decades, Wolf worked both as a photographer and a designer, creating over 500 television commercials and nine films, shooting for Van Cleef & Arpels, RCA, Revlon, Borghese, Olivetti and Karastan among others. Wolf's work was published in many magazines, including Esquire, Town and Country, Domus, and New York.
Wolf taught graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York, as well as the School of Visual Arts and Cooper Union.
Henry Wolf died on February 14, 2005 at the age of 80.