Archive for October, 2009
A documentary about the Gutenberg press that I really enjoyed. This film provides great insight into the history of print and the painstaking process of printing. Without Gutenberg’s invention, poster art and the history of illustration would not exist. Watch the other five parts on Youtube.
Some contextual chronology:
Woodblock prints date back as early as 200CE
Intaglio first attempted in 1430 but not perfected until Rembrandt’s time in the 17th century.
Gutenberg Press begins production in 1450’s and is modified and improved rapidly. More complex and efficient presses are produced constantly.
Lithography invented in 1796.
Photography 1839, photomontage became a popular tool of artists and poster designers in the early 1900’s.
Offset presses in 1903.
Screenprinting, though dating back to the 10th century in the East, and used industrially and by artists in the 19th century, it did not become the cornerstone of the DIY poster artist until Warhol popularized it in the 1960’s.
The film poster has a unique place in the poster genre because unlike posters for shows or books or destinations which generally had one poster plastered in the near geography of an event, films traveled and got new posters for each region and language they were shown in. Also, film posters were not collected like other posters because they were controlled by the distributors and loaned exclusively to theatres. After a showing, the posters were either destroyed or returned to the distributor for recirculation. Today, however, film posters are highly sought after by collectors and luckily for them, many distributors held on to the posters rather than destroy them.
After WWII, Polish designers were some of the most prolific and innovative in the genre. Their western European and American counterparts had rigid views of film poster design–views which usually involed bombastic taglines and over-the-top dramatic poses of celebrities themselves. In Poland, however, there were no Hollywood pundits directing the poster design. Rather, Polish artists rejected state-imposed social realism and enjoyed free artistic license under the communist regime so long as their work was not politically objectionable.. They drew influence from soviet constructivism and photomontage. The artists employed the skills they perfected as realists to create stunning designs that were far more conceptual than the celebrity-portraits of American posters. Polish posters often seem cryptic to any viewer not familiar with the film itself.
Follow the link for a pdf of source article. Plastered by Otto Buj
Some categories that, as I’ve been reading, I’ve found posters fit into include:
Advertising Posters (Literary, Theatre, Consumer Goods, Travel, etc.)
Public Service Announcement Posters
woodcut> intaglio> color lithography> technology huge impact on poster art
color litho- all printing and non-printing layers are at same level (unlike relief and intaglio); based on repellence of oil & water
litho invented 1798, almost immediate attempts to use color by running plate for each color, registration made difficult
peak usage between affordable production cost 1880’s to availability of photography in beginning of 20th cent.
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
last modified 5/5/09
American posters- highly collectable since posters were being produced- limited ed. poster books “The Modern Poster” (1895) 1000 editioned, reinforced craze
American posters publicized books; posters began outselling books they were advertising> no longer produced
Read the Sun poster (for the Sun Newspaper) Louis J. Read
advertised bicycles, food and wine, cafes and restaurants, cabaret and circus
many talented women poster artists in golden age of poster, but male dominated artform bc of women’s position in society at time
Ethel Reed, Florence Lundborg, Evelyn Rumsey Cary
sexist essay about Ethel Reed in The Poster November, 1898 “women have no orginiality of thought, and that literature and music have no feminine character, but surely women know how to observe, and what they se is quite different from that which men see, and the art which they put in their gestures in their dresses, in the decoration of their environment, is sufficient to give us the idea of an instinctive and peculiar genius which each of them possesses
coincided with rising popularity of magazines- The Century, Scriber’s, Harper’s Weekly
Maxfield Parish, Edward Penfield
Point of View-
consistent theme throughout poster illustration is the use of poster to advertise book, music, theater, lifestyle media. Embraced by middle class bc both were available and affordable to them in large quantity. More disposable income for leisure activities like reading and theater-going. Posters had low production costs, which made mass production possible. Paris poster artists of late 19th century took the gallery from the Academie to the streets with large scale, colorful reproductions widely available and free. People could collect beautiful imagery like never before.
Rebelled against Academie- seedy subject matter vs. classical painting subjects
reproducible image w print material vs. one-of-a-kind painting with traditional material
public, middle-class audience; wide exposure vs. Academie, art-critic, & high art inner circle; exclusive exposure
flat imagery, simplified line, bold color, abstract/modified shape vs. traditional painting techniques (form, perspective, local color usage, composition)
incorporation of text w/ imagery vs. no text
Cafe life- Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, : all contemporaries of eachother, hung out in cafes and created art (alternative to formal Academie)
drew eachother> they appear in eachother’s work
P.O.V.- Toulouse-Lautrec & Cafe Life
Went out into world he fit into bc of his situation (aristocrat+handicapped> underground cabaret & cafe scene)
prostitutes & brothels- only relationships he had, respected them & depicted their life> prostitution in 1890’s was at its peak; common stage in woman’s life to be prostitute at time & place
captured his surroundings & contributed to thriving theater scene bc of illustrations; fueled image of bruant, avril, etc
immersed in culture, observed, depicted, and propelled his scene
TL an example being where and as you are supposed to be at the right time- artists fate
technology, social changes
filters through which you look at through topic
poster emulates, epitomizes era- social issues, there whether you like it or not; documenting history- very time
>propaganda- war posters
>entertainment- music, lifestyle, theater
GROVE ART ONLINE
The origins of the poster can be traced back to the early playbills and other typographical announcements that were pasted on walls indiscriminately to attract the public’s attention.
used thick and varied lettering creatively> visual impact
mall French handbill of 1800 with illustration and lettering advertising Bonne Bièrre de Mars (see Abdy, p. 6) may be regarded as one of the forerunners of the poster
large-scale signboards that appear in a print of 1721 of St Bartholomew’s Fair, London (London, Guildhall), also anticipate modern street advertising
1761 an edict issued in France by Louis XV ordered that similar boards should be fixed to walls for safety, thus in a sense creating the billboard
directly from lithographic designs in journals and magazines executed by professional illustrators
France, from 1834, Paul Gavarni worked for the periodical Le Charivari producing a number of lively, popular illustrations that attracted the notice of artists and public alike
J.-J. Grandville Les Metamorphoses du jour (Paris, 1829)>antecedent of much of the Surrealist-inspired poster art of the 1930s and 1950s; Grandville’s use of bizarre humour was an early contribution to the content and imagery of popular posters in the 19th century, where word-play and whimsy were frequent factors
Edouard Manet, however, who produced the most quoted link between the book-page advertisement and the broad style of poster imagery with his poster for the illustrated edition of Champfleury’s Les Chats (1868; New York, MOMA) The design incorporates typography with a small lithographed illustration of cats on a rooftop, executed in flat, simplified shapes derived from Japanese print
influence of prints become source for Art Nouveau
Lautrec’s slightly disturbing but original style earned him the reputation of being probably the best-known poster artist of all time. An important aspect of his contribution to the history of the poster was his reduction of form to flat, simple pattern in a small range of strong colours, making the designs powerful enough to withstand reproduction on cheap paper and to be highly memorable
by 1890’s Art Nouveau became element of posters> Eugene Grasset Salon des Cent: Exposition (1894; New York, MOMA) – depicts girl’s head & hand holding a flower, heavy outline (reminiscent of stained glass; Alphonse Mucha of Bohemia, decorative, all posters for Sarah Bernhardt + her costumes & decor for productions
American- economic woodblock, huge scale; cruder in concept than contemporary european posters. Grasset visited & influenced US style> Edward Penfield– Harper’s & Collier’s; The Chap Book Thanksgiving Number one of most popular posters
Fred Walker wood-engraved, b&w poster 1871 for The Woman in White (New York, MOMA)
“Beggarstaff Brothers”- William Nicholson & James Pryde– limited ed. woodcut & lithography posters, flat colours & massed forms, Girl on a Sofa- reproduced in German magazine 1914, interest to designers in Germany; Tom Purvis (1920’s & 30’s)
Britain- mostly concerned w humorous versions of the best work in Paris; John Hassall (1868-1948) Dudley Hardy
In Belgium there were a number of artists who designed original posters. They included Henri Meunier (1873–1922), Victor Mignot (1872–1944) and Privat-Livemont (1861–1936). Although their styles were highly individual, there is a common element of accurate draughtsmanship linked to ideas derived from the Symbolist movement that distinguishes work in both Belgium and the Netherlands from much of the work in Paris.
Leonetto Capiello, an artist of Italian origin who worked in Paris, brought a new concept to poster design relying on a single motif placed against a plain background, for example in his Chocolat Klaus (1903)
Among the many other German artists who produced outstanding posters were Julius Klinger (1876–1950), Paul Scheurich (1883–1945), Julius Gipkens (b 1883), Peter Behrens and Hans Rudi Erdt (1883–1918).
During World War I posters were produced by the countries involved not only for recruitment or for soliciting support for War Loans but also for protest. Käthe Kollwitz in Germany and Jules Abel Faivre (1867–1945) in France; Alfred Leete (1882–1933) in England and Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960) in the USA; Howard Chandler Christy (1873–1952)
P.O.V.> Propaganda Art
Immediacy of imagery with straightforward text effectively influences mass culture’s opinion (supporting or against); wide exposure possible bc of low production costs; also large scale overwhelms a viewer, aggressive gesture (pointing finger of dominating figure, Uncle Sam)- more susceptible to message
(Grove Art cont’d)
use of photography shifted the emphasis from the hand-drawn imagery and lettering of the painter–printmaker to the sophisticated graphic language of the designer; Cubism easily assimilated by designers
Art Deco in French poster design– decorative treatment of images and angular patterns; Georges Lepape (1887-1971) fashion posters
images memorable underlines the importance of the poster in its position midway between art and the market place
In between wars; Travel Posters: McKnight Kauffer – best work between wars; travel posters encouraged urban traveller to leave city & served to decorate tunnels and passages; Railway companies & shipping lines in Britain- extensive patronage of work of these and other poster artists
in Switzerland, where Otto Baumberger (1889–1961) and Niklaus Stoecklin (1896–1982), together with Max Bill (e.g. poster for Olympic Games, Munich, 1972; London, V&A), were among those who fused formal, abstracted elements and typography into precise designs, heralding the rise of the professional graphic designer
During World War II poster designers were forced to compete with cinema and the radio as a means of spreading propaganda. However, the development of photography and photomontage over the previous decades had given new shape to poster design
The extent to which posters were used during wartime proved their unsurpassed value as instruments of direct and powerful communication.
Consumer and travel posters were replaced by instructional posters that urged the public to conserve energy, grow more food or guard the terrain and the secrets of the respective countries. Posters made under the Nazis depicted Nazi leaders and policies in a favourable light to the inhabitants of the occupied countries; here the message was often more significant than the merit of the design.
Jean Carlu used his skill with simplified forms in America’s Answer—Production (1941; New York, MOMA)
In the USSR, among a prolific output of propaganda posters, the work of the Kukryniksy group—Mikail Kupriyanov, Porfiry Krylov and Nikolai Sokolov—added to the stirring character of Soviet poster design
In 1944 Paul Colin celebrated the re-emergence of France with a dramatic painting that was issued as a poster entitled Libération, with the personified image of France standing this time not among the barricades (as in Revolutionary times) but among her ruined cities.
20 years following the end of World War II, several factors affected poster design throughout the world
international approach to design developed-Many European designers had moved to the USA, where the rise of a professional advertising body created a market for designers’ work
style- Cubist & Bauhaus theory gave way to Surrealism; humour sought in advertising after stress of war
Swiss magazine Graphis– focal point for GD world
Donald Brun (b 1909), Swiss, Gauloises (1965; priv. col., see Barnicoat, p. 114) – sharp, geometric forms and strong, clear colours, printed immaculately against a black ground
Raymond Savignac (b 1907) and Herbert Leupin (b 1916) both exploited an element of comedy in their posters
1965 the University of California at Berkeley became the focus of the psychedelic posters of the hippy movement; these graphics of protest, which were an affirmation of a new youthful lifestyle, coincided with an exhibition of Jugendstil and Expressionist posters at Berkeley
Victor Moscoso’s Young Bloods (1967), Bob Masse’s Kitsilano Theatre, Vancouver (1968) or Robert McClay’s Funky Features (1968) and Bob Schnepf’s Avalon Ballroom (1967)
Michael English (b 1939) (British)
new ideas that challenged the established standards of poster design:
rise of the Polish cinema and theatre poster- violent and brilliantly inventive imagery, executed in bright colours- Jan Lenica’s (b 1928) poster Wozzeck (1964; see Barnicoat, pl. 235); Waldemar Swierzy (b 1931); Franciszek Starowieyski (b 1930) made use of dramatic Surrealist imagery
Cuba- revolution inspired a forceful series of poster designs by various artists who worked for the new government through official agencies; political & cinematic; Raúl Martínez and Antonio Pérez González
Push-pin had influential role in the professional world of graphic design in the 1960s and early 1970; reintroduced a hand-drawn appearance to posters, which leant towards quotation and parody (e.g. Seymour Chwast, End Bad Breath, 1967; Seymour Chwast/Pushpin Lubalin Peckolick priv. col., see 1984–5 exh. cat., pl. 187).
The poster Dylan (1967; London, V&A) by Glaser shows a portrait of the singer Bob Dylan in silhouette with his hair depicted as a tangled mass of bright colours
many Push Pin designs inspired by Surrealism, but other imagery too
1970’s & 80’s- poster design was consolidation of what was recently avante-garde and experimental
Poster Art Heavy Hitters:
“It may appear easier to follow the development of the poster in recent times, but in fact the poster today has acquired a much greater importance and a much more complex character than it had in the past. Earlier it was possible to single out the middle European poster, or the French poster, or the Russian poster, or the French poster after Cheret, and so on, but now national and cultural distinctions can no longer be made.” p. 313
“A poster should never be thought of as a painting; it should be considered only in the context of the specific publicity campaign to which it belongs. Among other things, a publicity poster on a wall is a reduced image of a more complex advertising message that establishes a dialogue with the viewer. Beacause of this, a history of posters abstracted form their social context and the specific advertising campaigns in which they figured would be incomplete and misleading.
I would suggest, therefore, that to trace the development of postwar posters, one should try to reconstruct the context in which they appeared. Only by considering them as part of their respective publicity campaigns, rather than as the work of individual artists, can a historically accurate appraisal of them be made.” p. 315
“In the 1930s European posters reflected several trends” the postcubist synthesis; simplified and depoliticized versioa of the photoemontages of the Berlin Dadaists; and the Dadaists’ borrowings from surrealism.” p. 309
Adolphe Mouron Cassandre (Cracow 1901-1968) created a concise alternative to the Russian photomontage poster and the German Bauhaus poster. His poster, Nord Express, shuns the Bauhaus’s importance of typography with text that functions more as just caption. The train is foreshortened in a very futurist fashion.
E. McKnight-Kauffer (1890-1954) was among the most interesting artist working in the Post-Cubist revival style in America.
The Bauhaus was a school that operated from 1919 to 1933 in Germany. The school existed in three German cities (Weimer from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and Berlin from 1932 to 1933), under three different architect-directors: Walter Groipus from 1919 to 1927, Hannes Meyer from 1927 to 1930 and Ludwig Meis Van der Rowe from 1930 until 1933, when the school was closed by the Nazi regime.
“There was a certain continuity between the posters of Toulouse-Lautrec and Steinlen, but between 1920 and 1922 poster art divided into two streams: one for the masses, the other for the elite.” p. 306
There were three factors that were responsible for this split over class. The first being the Dada Movement (1916 in Zurich, 1918 in Paris). The second is Kasimir Malevich’s suprematism:
His style was nonobjective, flat shapes were painted straight onto the canvas. He was connected to the creation of the Dutch artist movement “De Stijl” in 1917.
The third factor is the first Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919. Here the “fantastic-mythic inspiration of Paul Klee and Kandinski and the structuralism of architects, poster makers, and other graphic artists” were united.
“During and immediately after the First World War, [which was] a period of crisis in poster art, the poster recieved fresh inspiration from two directions: the photomontage technique practiced by the Dadaists of Berlin, who were active from about 1917 to 1923, and the Bauhaus use of type.”
John Heartfield (1891-1968) created posters that had a large figure in the foreground and a contrast of other receding figures in dramatic perspective behind it.
Russian artists accepted his work as influence. They thought that it was realism (though it was actually photo-montage). Heartfield’s influence was strong from the 1920s until the end of WWII. Eliezer Lissitsky was particularly influenced in his poster for a Russian exhibition at a Zurich museum in 1929
“In Bauhaus posters, the inscriptions became illustrations. The unity or words and illustration in Bauhaus work is extremely rich and complex, and by the very structure of bauhaus production, posters remained for the elite. But in the long run Bauhaus could not help but influence the development of the poster in Europe, particularly in Switzerland after the Nazis took over Germany and the poster there returned to an academic, rhetorical realism.” p. 307
Joost Schmidt (1893-1942) exemplifies the relationship between word and image in his poster Staatliches Bauhaus Ausstelling, 1923
Walter Dexel (1890-1973) was very influential in the Bauhaus
Herbert Bayer (Austrian, 1900-1985) is one of the most influential Bauhaus designers when it comes to posters.
“The expressionist revolution was influenced by the discovery in the West of Japanese wood engravings, the revival of populist nationalism, the Jugendstil, and a certain civic-mindedness. Expressionism—which was symbolic, emotional, sometimes violent, and always non-realistic—had a particular impact on film poster, for example the 1919 poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari [by Stahl-Arpke]…It also greatly affected posters created during and immediately after the First World War.”
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) was heavily influenced by painters such as Gaugin, Van Gogh, Munch, and Klimt. He created complex posters for theatre productions and literary novels, geared towards the elite educated class.
However, he also made wartime posters (such as Neider mit dem Bolschewismus, 1919). Wartime posters were specific to the style popular in the countries they were made. Thus, in France and The United States they were realistic.