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Masters of Polish Poster Art

romeo and juliet poster

Saturday, April 18, Central Library

The poster has a particular place in Polish art after World War II. Without exaggeration, it is a Polish specialty as an extremely lively, creative, and ambitious branch of art in this country. The individual character of Polish posters, frequently stressed, especially abroad, originated not only - as it is usually suggested- in folk art or in the widely understood tradition of painting, but first and foremost in the very approach to the poster in art in an extremely personal and emotional way.

Polish artists demonstrated that the poster, despite its natural limitations, can be as sensitive, elastic, and deep a way of expressing the author's attitude to reality as any other branch of art. Beginning in the 1950s and through the 1980s, the Polish School of Posters combined the aesthetics of painting with the succinctness and simple metaphor of the poster.  It developed characteristics such as painterly gesture, linear quality, and vibrant colours, as well as a sense of individual personality, humour, and fantasy.  It was in this way that the Polish poster was able to make the distinction between designer and artist less apparent.

Posters of the Polish School of Posters significantly influenced the international development of graphic design in poster art. Their major contribution is in their use of the power of suggestion through clever allusions. Using strong and vivid colours from folk art, they combine printed slogans, often hand-lettered, with popular symbols, to create a concise inventive metaphor. As a hybrid of words and images, these posters created a certain aesthetic tension.

In addition to an aesthetic aspects, these posters were able to reveal the artist's emotional involvement with the subject. They did not solely exist as an objective presentation, rather they were also the artist's interpretation and commentary on the subject and on society.

This is a short introduction in words of Zbigniew Latala, our guest and speaker of a Saturday, April 18 program called  Masters of Polish Poster Art. Join us in the Stevenson & Hunt room A in Central Library at 2 pm for this unique presentation.

Zbigniew Latała was born, studied and has lived in Cracow. He is an associate professor at Cracow University of Technology and Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Cracow University. In 2002 he received a Ph.D degree in the field of computer-based image processing and analysis, and in 2005 he completed an additional university course in modern computer-based graphic art. He has taught classes devoted to computer-based graphic art and multimedia. He deals with designing, photography and new media. He is a laureate of numerous prestigious art competitions and has participated in over 90 exhibitions in Poland and worldwide. He has led seminars and workshops in China, Ireland, Canada and USA. He owns an art gallery called  in Cracow district of the city of Kazimierz in Poland.

The talk is accompanied by the display on the Red Wall, on the main floor of the Central Library, called Shakespeare in Polish Posters. The display will be on through the month of April.

Romeo and Juliet posterRomeo and Juliet posterOthello poster

Click on image to see larger version.