Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedMay 7, 2024(2024-05-07) (aged 95)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Graphic designer,
Landscape architect
(m. 1948; died 1955)
Daniel Solomon
(m. 1969, divorced)
Children2, including Nellie King Solomon

Barbara Ethel Stauffacher Solomon (

Sea Ranch, a private estate with a Utopian vision in Sonoma County, California.[3]

Early life and education

Barbara Ethel Levé was born on December 5, 1928 in San Francisco, California to Fred Levé and Lilian Reinhertz Levé.[4][5] She was a third-generation San Franciscan.[6] Her father, Fred was a lawyer who represented anarchists.[4] Her parents separated when she was 4 years old.[4] As a young woman, Barbara Levé studied dance and worked as a dancer,[5] as well as, studying painting and sculpture at San Francisco Art Institute.[7]

At age 20, she married the filmmaker Frank Stauffacher in 1948. The designer and printmaker Jack Stauffacher became her brother-in-law through this marriage.[8] Frank and Barbara Stauffacher had a daughter named Chloe.[4]

In 1956, after the death of her husband, Barbara Stauffacher moved to Basel, Switzerland to study graphic design at the Basel Art Institute, where she was a student of Armin Hofmann until 1959.[5] She had made the decision to study graphic design because she knew she could make a living in that field.[7][9][10][11] She later studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and was graduated in 1981, writing her thesis on Green Architecture and the Agrarian Garden.[12]

In 1969, she married Daniel Solomon, an architect and professor.[4][11] Their daughter, Nellie King Solomon, also became an artist and has showed her work at exhibitions with Stauffacher Solomon.[13][14]


Stauffacher Solomon returned to San Francisco in 1962 and set up her graphic design studio. During that period of her career, she designed the monthly program guides for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.[15][16]

Cover of the Sea Ranch brochure designed by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon that includes her design of the logo for the development

Stauffacher Solomon met landscape architect Lawrence Halprin in 1968 and he employed her at Sea Ranch, a novel condominium development along ten miles of the California coast in Sonoma County. Initially, she designed the architectural scale paintings for the building interiors. Her work at Sea Ranch grew from her vocabulary of signs to creating motion and an awareness of space throughout the project. She created the logo for the Sea Ranch that drew from Swiss design and California impressionism to interpret the rams and crashing waves associated with the massive property. Halprin went on to recommend her to other architects in the San Francisco area who gave her a free reign in the creation of designs that exhibited her talent.[10][16][17][18] She went on to receive two American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards for her work at Sea Ranch.[19]

Stauffacher Solomon was an instructor at both Harvard University and Yale University during her career. While at Yale, an architect she had met during her work at Sea Ranch, Charles Moore, invited her to lead a studio project on supergraphics in 1968.[20] The studio was a week-long project creating two-dimensional graphics that reinforced the architecture of the Yale University Art and Architecture elevators. Her studio project was wildly successful and heralded by Ada Louise Huxtable as a protest against "the establishment".[21]

In the short period of its existence as a magazine, Stauffacher Solomon was art director of Scanlan's Monthly from 1970 until 1971.[4]

In 1995, she designed a large outdoor art installation, Promenade Ribbon, for San Francisco.[22] In 2002, Stauffacher Solomon was a member of the San Francisco Art Commission.[23] In 2015, Stauffacher Solomon worked as a landscape architect and continued to create large scale graphic interventions outdoors.[24]

Stauffacher Solomon is the author of the autobiographic book Why? Why not?.

art direction and design.[26][27][28]


Stauffacher Solomon died in San Francisco on May 7, 2024, at the age of 95.[4]


Drawings and supergraphics by Stauffacher Solomon have been included in a number of museum exhibitions. In 2018, she created the supergraphic installation entitled Land(e)scape 2018 at the Berkeley Art Museum.[29] In 2019, she was the subject of a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).[30]

From March to May 2021, another solo show of the work of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, entitled Green Rectangle of Paradise (GROP), was held at Gallery Van Bartha in Basel. The show was curated by Matylda Krzykowski and showcased more than forty drawings and paintings by the artist, dating from 1980s to 2021.[5] Krzykowski had introduced Stauffacher Solomon to the gallery.


  • Green Architecture: Notes on the Common Ground (Design quarterly 120), 1982.[31]
  • Green Architecture and the Agrarian Garden, 1988.
  • Good Mourning California (1 ed.). New York, New York: Rizzoli International Publishers. 1992.
  • Why? Why Not?, 2013.
  • Utopia Myopia, 2013.


  1. .
  2. ^ (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved May 27, 2024 – via USModernist.
  3. .
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Green, Penelope (May 8, 2024). "Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Pioneer of Supergraphics, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d "Barbara Stauffacher Solomon". Von Bartha. September 14, 2020. Archived from the original on May 10, 2024. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  6. ^ a b Barros, Joe Rivano (September 9, 2014). "Rebecca Solnit Variety Show for Modern Times". Mission Local. Archived from the original on December 26, 2022. Retrieved May 26, 2024.
  7. ^ .
  8. ^ "Supergraphics' Barbara Stauffacher Solomon legacy is ready to be told". Typeroom. May 4, 2017. Archived from the original on May 14, 2024. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  9. .
  10. ^ a b Cowles, Dan (March 28, 2018). "Visions Not Previously Seen: The Groundbreaking Design Work of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon". Adobe Creative Cloud. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "26 May 1971, 21 - Dayton Daily News at". Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  12. ^ "Von Bartha announces representation of Bernar Venet, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Claudia Wieser". September 11, 2020. Archived from the original on April 1, 2023. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  13. ^ "SUPER-SILLY-US: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon with Nellie King Solomon". Patch. Novato, CA. January 20, 2023. Archived from the original on December 19, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  14. ^ "BEYOND: Works by Nellie King Solomon and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon". Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. May 5, 2020. Archived from the original on December 19, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  15. ^ "Artist - Barbara Stauffacher Solomon - Works". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "A multi-hyphenate pioneer: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon". Fold Magazine. Moleskine. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Bathhouse Graphics - [Moonraker Athletic Complex]". Progressive Architecture. March 1967. pp. 158–161. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved June 20, 2019 – via Journey to Sea Ranch - University of California, Berkeley.
  18. from the original on March 4, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  19. .
  20. .
  21. .
  22. ^ Adams, Gerald D. (December 20, 1995). "Skateboarders barred for art's sake". SFGate. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  23. SFGATE. Archived
    from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  24. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (July 15, 2021). "The most influential designer you've never heard of is a 92-year-old artist in SF". Fast Company. Archived from the original on July 13, 2023. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  25. ^ .
  26. ^ Snaith, Sarah (Summer 2017). "Advice from a mentor you may never meet". Eye. Vol. 24, no. 94. Archived from the original on June 7, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2024.
  27. OCLC 979561004
  28. ^ "25-Plus Books on Women in Design". Designers & Books. March 15, 2023 [8 October 2013]. Archived from the original on October 10, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2024.
  29. ^ Hotchkiss, Sarah (August 16, 2018). "At 90, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon Has No Time for the Art World (and Never Did)". KQED. Archived from the original on May 17, 2024. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  30. ^ "Exhibition - Barbara Stauffacher Solomon". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 2019. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  31. OCLC 9071600

External links

  • Official website
  • SFMOMA-Exhibition "The Sea Ranch, Architecture, Environment, and Idealism", December 22, 2018, to April 28, 2019, including video of the founding participants including Barbara Stauffacher Solomon