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The Legacy of Polish Poster design


boletus 30 | 1,366
20 May 2011 #1
Smashing text, smashing images, in Smashing Magazine. This excellent story is by Andrea Austoni - an Italian freelance graphic designer currently living in Krakow, Poland. He specializes in icon design and illustration. Several good links to museums and galleries provided.

Before the era of globalized entertainment made movie posters look the same in every country, Polish artists were creating their own versions for the internal market. What resulted was a whole school of artists trained in the art of the poster. This article presents a short historical look at how this movement was born and how it developed, from its art-related beginnings at the end of the 19th Century to the golden era of the film posters throughout the 20th Century.

The article describes several periods of the Polish Poster School:
1. The Beginnings
2. Stefan Norblin and the Touristic Poster
3. Tadeusz Gronowski: Father of the Polish Poster
4. The Warsaw Architects
5. Propaganda Posters
6. The 50's and the 60's: The Golden Age
7. The 70's and the 80's: Decadence and Death

Smashing Magazine
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
20 May 2011 #2
Here in Southern California we have a museum named for the cowboy/actor Gene Autrey and several years ago they had an exhibition of Polish movie posters that had been created to advertise Amercan Westerns when they played in Poland. The quality of the graphic design on all of them was superb, as was the creativity they displayed. I.E. The poster for the Richard Harris film titled "A Man Called Horse" featured a bizzare looking horse/man that wasnt a classical centaur but rather had a man's body, a horse's head, and the look of agony. The most fascinating aspect of the exhibition was that the posters revealed the fact that Poles strongly identified, not with the cowboys of the movies, but with the indians. Now I see that this is totally understandable given Poland's history and style. The boastful, expertly equestrian, Plains Indians bedecked in feathers are actually very very similiar to Poles when one thinks about it.
OP boletus 30 | 1,366
20 May 2011 #3
Des Essientes

The quality of the graphic design on all of them was superb, as was the creativity they displayed.

Polish posters of 60's were given complete artistic freedom: communist censorship did not bother with them and no big movie corporations pushed their ideas of promotion on them.

Poles strongly identified, not with the cowboys of the movies, but with the indians.

This is probably due to the influence of that German guy "Karol May" and his 'Winnetou". :-)

You might also want to check this: samsmyth.blogspot.com/2011/04/1000-polish-book-covers.html

Just when I thought I had seen it all at the outer limits of the Polish poster, I discover Polish book covers. Fans of Polish art and design have until now relied on fantastic posts at sites like 50 Watts to get their fix. I'm now aware that many of them can be found in a hardback book, curated by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński and entitled One Thousand Polish Book Covers, which seems to be the definitive tome on this incredibly deep and diverse visual world.
Ironside 50 | 11,110
21 May 2011 #4
The boastful, expertly equestrian, Plains Indians bedecked in feathers are actually very very similiar to Poles when one thinks about it.

Only on the surface, only on the surface dear DesEss !
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
21 May 2011 #5
Only on the surface

The similarity between Plains Indians and Poles stems from an innate spirit of aristocratic cockiness that both peoples share which is essential rather than superficial.

shop.theautry.org/browse.cfm/western-amerykanski-(hardcover)/4,115.html
rybnik 18 | 1,461
21 May 2011 #6
This is a little off-topic but I have to share it with you all. During my last year of residency here in the States I was "shadowing" a successful Dermatologist for 2 months. This man, it turned out, hated Poles and when he found out I came from Polish stock, he hated me too. Anyway, I remember feeling very good about myself and my people when I saw a framed Polish poster occupying a prominent position in this guy's waiting room. The joke was on him! :)
OP boletus 30 | 1,366
21 May 2011 #7
^
Did you reveal that terrible fact to him?
Ironside 50 | 11,110
21 May 2011 #8
The similarity between Plains Indians and Poles stems from an innate spirit of aristocratic cockiness that both peoples share which is essential rather than superficial.

Poles don't have spirit of aristocratic cockiness,so called national character was shaped by spirit of freedom and citizenship, enjoyed by Polish nobles.
So, called cockiness and spirit it is quality due to Polish Royal Army and its knights-soldiers. IT is a soldierly quality and spirit, which has been an overplayed factor due to unfurtunate circumstances of Poland in later years.

Poles, their bards and storytellers hummed that tune of free chivalrous warrior, knight in shiny armour and all that to enchant kids with an idea of Poland.

In fact a real Polish cavalryman had been superior due to original tactics, close cooperation and support of infantry and artillery combined together into Polish Way of Welfare. And due to superior armour, sabre, musket and artillery all that providable by the country, and only a tiny percent of the nobles were directly involved in wars.

Whereas Indians where free warriors, free in a tribal and nomadic (or half-nomadic)way.
Their free spirit was primal and fruit of culture where norms could not be to strict because members of the group would vote with their feet (and often did - many tribes and sub-tribes of American Indians). When on the other hand ,Poland's free spirit was a fruit of complex and rich civilisation with laws, custom and legislations - civilisation which dominated for 400 years half of the European continent.

Not the same thing.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
21 May 2011 #9
Did you reveal that terrible fact to him?

No I didn't. I sure as hell wanted to. This guy was a rabid Pole-hater. He once "called me out" in front of his Ukrainian-Jew patient (and his son). He started shouting: "they beat you! they beat you" Man what a scene!
Bzibzioh
21 May 2011 #10
This guy was a rabid Pole-hater.

Why? Any particular reason or just because?
Maaarysia
21 May 2011 #11
"they beat you! they beat you"

I don't get it. Beat = bić? "Biją cię! Biją cię" ???
rybnik 18 | 1,461
21 May 2011 #12
The Dermatologist was saying to his patient, in front of me, "The polaks beat you, they beat you didn't they?" meaing Poles beat the Jews in the Ukraine. .....this occured in the States.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
21 May 2011 #13
Their free spirit was primal

When on the other hand ,Poland's free spirit was a fruit of complex and rich civilisation with laws, custom and legislations

Ironside, you underestimate the complexity of the Plains Indian society. While it is true that their military technology was well behind that of their European contemporaries, when compared with their rival Indian tribes the Plains Indians look alot like Poles when compared with their European neighbors. The Plains Indians by having domesticated and militarized the horse became the central continental overlords of North America just as the Poles did in central Europe with their own variety of artillery supported equestrian based military technology. The parallels are there for anyone with eyes to see, but you insist upon the distinguishing the Plains Indians as primitive and the Poles as civilized in a myopic manner.
Ironside 50 | 11,110
21 May 2011 #14
Ironside, you underestimate the complexity of the Plains Indian society.

Maybe I'm, however with all their internal and spiritual complexity society of the Plains Indians was pretty simple, no social classes. Simply speaking lack of the factors necessary for existence of civilisation.

The Plains Indians by having domesticated and militarized the horse became the central continental overlords of North America just as the Poles did in central Europe with their own variety of artillery supported equestrian based military technology.

Polish power wasn't based on her military power, for most of her Golden Age, military power was used only for defence purposes, most historians are in concert that one of the downfall of Poland's Power was anti-militaristic attitude of majority of her citizen (nobles).

If Poland would had utilized her riches and potentials, without even straining herself would have had been able to handle all her neighbours.
Military power was there only to provide security for advanced and complex society based on knowledge, agriculture and technology unsuppressed in the world.
Overlords of North America is only an exaggerated expression, which means that because of their numbers, warrior culture and vacuum caused by white men advance into North America which caused havoc therefore wiping out and pushing aside other Indians.Because of all that their ruling "so to speak" was unchallenged.

In no point their overlord-ship meant more than a passing gallop of their horses.

The parallels are there for anyone with eyes to see, but you insist upon the distinguishing the Plains Indians as primitive and the Poles as civilized in a myopic manner.

What parallels you are talking about ?Use of horses and feathers? Well, I can grant you that, but further than that its only confabulation.
There is nothing myopic in my approach, I'm just taking a stand against comparing everything with everything, it makes no sense and is counter-productive.

I did not call Indians primitive on purpose, but their nomadic lifestyle, and even more their ancient but remote culture put them entirely on a different plane of existence than Polish civilization.

That: against that ?:

The first one doesn't even needs his horse to ridicule your comparison.
pawian 178 | 15,516
22 May 2011 #15
The Polish school of poster was quite famous, indeed.

But I couldn`t find the poster you are talking about. Strange.

Only the sequel poster: Check other Polish film posters out: polishposter.com/html/american03.html

hallemariaberry.com/orig-poster-polish/

polishposter.com/p/c30.html
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
22 May 2011 #16
against that ?:

Read my posts Ironside, I didn't say the Plains Indians were the military match for the winged hussars, but rather that the Plains Indians and the Poles have a similiar chivalrous spirit that resulted from a similiar equestrian tradition. The Polish posters I saw at the Autrey Museum indicated that some Poles felt this way too. You, on the other hand, seem to be mired in an outdated form of European chauvinism. Both peoples admirably defended their steppe lands against foreigners and both peoples lost, but they both kept their noble spirits alive. Indeed, I have paid the Poles a compliment by comparing them to warriors like the Souix, but if you want to be offended by having your ancestors compared to non-white aboriginal Americans, then so much the worse for you.
Ironside 50 | 11,110
22 May 2011 #17
I was hoping for a stimulating discussion. Meaning:an exchange of arguments, facts and views.
It is disappointing that all you came with is a well know game of labelling. You stick some labels on me and in return I will stick some labels on you. Thank you I pass.

It would be nice if you did me courtesy of reading my post, as I did read yours - not only admiring pictures I posted.

I'm not speaking for Poles, I speak for myself. I don't deny that some Poles may viewed or view it the way you described but I'm still claiming that said similarity is only superficial.

If we talking the times of the winged hussars, they were all business like professional winners and their spirit come from countless battles which ended with their victory.

Whereas Indian's warrior spirit come from their way of life and their beliefs.
OP boletus 30 | 1,366
23 May 2011 #18
I am sure most of us know of the works of Rafał Olbiński. It would be simply unfair not to mention him here. Amazing art.

Poetic humor is a quality rarely found in the fine arts. Rafal Olbinski has this gift. He wants to show us that our imagination is a magical world which we are recreating forever. He draws us into a different universe, and forces us to use our eyes to participate in a marvelous world which is the true dimension of dreams.

Rafal Olbinski is a surrealist artist, who has become world famous for his posters and designs.
Rafal was born in Poland, and originally trained as an architect in Warsaw. In 1981 he emigrated to the US, where he worked as a painter, illustrator and designer.

tendreams.org/olbinski.htm
patinae.com/olbinski.htm

The Polish Way | Poland's own art

The Embassy of Poland in Delhi is exhibiting select works of poster art from the 1960's to the present. The exhibition, "Polish School of Poster Art" was inaugurated on 24 May and will be open until 30 May.

livemint.com/2011/05/25224625/The-Polish-Way--Poland8217.html

Short video included


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