history of international advertising posters

Until the year 1860, posters had the form of simple bills including texts made from woodcuts or engravings.

In France, at the beginning of 1870, the use of lithography in colors and the printing of larger posters were accelerated by industrial and commercial development.

Lithography and the Birth of the Advertising poster

L'imprimeur lithographe avec la rotocalcographie Déchaux

1898 – H. MODEBERT

Jules Chéret - French painter and lithographer 1836-1932

Jules Cheret, being influenced by his father who was a typographer, apprehended with ease the techniques of typography creating, consequently, his very first poster in 1858 for the Operette “Orphée aux enfers” by Offenbach.

This initial artistic attempt created a sensation. Hence, in 1896, he opened his own lithography studio in which he invented tri- chromatic printing using only 2 stones. He drew his subjects in a romantic style, using vivid colors (red, blue and yellow) with a brilliant use of the white paper background.
His most celebrated posters show elegant and enticing young women (the Cherettes) who promoted numerous products such as cars, exhibitions, or even shows at the Moulin Rouge and nights out at the “Bal de l’Opéra” and at the “Palais de Glaces”. Cheret created and printed more than 1000 posters; he was the first professional in poster advertising. As a result, he was coined as the “father of the poster”.

His posters are considered today as masterpieces. They are exhibited in numerous museums, and are highly prized by collectors.

La Reine Indigo, opéra-bouffe, musique de Johann Strauss, Théâtre de la Renaissance

1875 – Jules CHERET

CHF 1570.–

The Belle Epoque 1870-1914

Many artists like Choubrac or Pal were inspired by Jules Cheret and produced thousands of posters that would cover the walls of Paris and other city regions of France. 'La Belle Epoque' was the golden age of the poster. Hence, poster production became more organized. Large printing agencies were launched and introduced the implementation of printing in standard formats. The first collectors built collections that have mostly been sold off consequently, these posters are difficult to find today. The gallery Sagot in Paris began the poster business, selling an original poster for 3 francs, or 6 to 12 francs for a luxury Alphonse Mucha poster that was printed in lithographs or in silkscreen using gold pigments.

The advertisement poster invaded Europe. In Belgium, Germany, Italy and Great Britain, different styles developed according to the cultural sensibility of the population. Large exhibitions of hundreds of posters from each country were set up in capital cities at the end of the century, notably during the Universal expositions. The artistic dimension of all of these posters is highly valued by the general public, museums, and collectors willing to acquire original art works of the highest quality in affordable prices.

Cycles Georges Richard, exigez la marque "le trèfle à quatre feuilles"

1900 circa – Henri GRAY


Women and the Belle Epoque

The figure of the woman is everywhere in the Belle Epoque. Each artist had his own way of interpreting her: ‘Chérettes’ are enticing and frivolous, the women of Toulouse-Lautrec are manipulative and those of Eugene Grasset dreamy and romantic. Steinlen showed their maternal and human side, while Hohenstein evokes their flamboyant charm. Alphonse Mucha glorified them as symbols of beauty and sensuality. De Feure preferred to illustrate women as bourgeois, proud and independent.

Electricine, Eclairage de luxe

1895 – Lucien BAYLAC

CHF 1450.–

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

His first poster for the Moulin Rouge in 1892, showing "La Goulue" dancing the French cancan was admired not only by the Parisian public but also by the artist Jules Cheret. Toulouse-Lautrec managed to create an overnight sensation. Via this first poster, he broke most of the existing aesthetic rules. He liberated structure, composition, use of light and even typography by repeating “Moulin Rouge” 3 times and using only one “M”. The silhouetted figure of Valentin “le Désossé” (the contortionist), suggests a magic lantern and the beginnings of the cinema.

His 30 posters are all totally avant-garde and immediately recognizable. They constitute the absolute reference for graphic designers all over the world. His genius will always be unique, and his posters will never be equaled.

Les chansonniers de Montmartre, numéro spécial Artistide Bruant


CHF 1200.–

Symbolism and the Nabi

At the end of the century, many symbolists such as, Georges de Feure, James Ensor, Gustav-Adolf Mossa, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Arnold Böcklin or Felicien Rops created magnificent posters for their exhibitions at the “Salon des Cent”; worth mentioning the Swiss Artists Eugène Grasset and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen who both became famous in Paris. This was the era of the Moulin Rouge, the rise of Montmartre, of Aristide Bruant and the “Cabaret du Chat Noir”.

The “Nabis" Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Henri-Gabriel Ibels and Felix Vallotton also produced some masterpieces. These posters made the transition with Art Nouveau and are presented in collections around the world.

Le parasol bleu

1900 – Eugène GRASSET


Art Nouveau 1895-1905 (Jugendstil in Germany, Liberty in Italy)

Art Nouveau was the epitome of the “Belle Epoque”. It influenced all the decorative arts, from illustration to architecture via the poster, wallpaper, glasswork and jewellery. Inspired by the nature and the feminine, the artists of this movement created motifs from rounded forms, in a profusion of detail, ornamentation, allegory and symbolism. It was the Kingdom of the curve namely, an all-embracing art that occupied all available space in an explosion of ornamentation around the central subject, which in general was a woman.

The portfolio “Documents décoratifs” created in 1902 by Alphonse Mucha, presented in 72 plates all the possibilities of Art Nouveau and is considered as the manifesto of this movement.

Fleurs de Mousse, de Sauzé frères, parfumeurs à Paris

1898 – Leopoldo METLICOVITZ


Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939)

Alphonse Mucha is without doubt the Master of Art Nouveau. His posters idealized opulent women with long flowing hair, usually surrounded by flowers, allegories and symbolic motifs. Several colored frames with golden motifs often surround the monumental image.

In 1894 his first poster for “Sarah Bernhardt” in the role of “Gismonda” assured him an immediate success. Up until 1905, he created hundreds of lithographs and sumptuous posters, each as beautiful as the following, thanks to the contribution of the printing agency Champenois in Paris.

Being at the summit of its art, this printing agency completely mastered the difficult printing in gold (Job, Salon des Cent, The Four Seasons). These Art Nouveau masterpieces were already highly prized in their time. The first poster collectors could buy them in Parisian bookshops for few francs. Currently, they are highly valued.

Lorenzaccio d'Alfred de Musset, Sarah Bernhardt (création 1896)

1897 – Alphonse MUCHA



In Germany at the end of the 19th century, in rupture dominant baroque style several artists such as Franz Van Stück or Arnold Böcklin regrouped around the “Jugend” and “Pan” reviews and begun to embrace the French Art Nouveau and Symbolism.

The “Jugend” review gave its name to the “Jugendstil” movement, a form of Art Nouveau in Germany.

Ausstellung von Bildern - Münchner Secession im Künsterhaus Zürich

1899 – Fritz BOSCOVITS

CHF 2200.–

Como, Onoranze a Volta nel centenario della pila, Maggio-Ottobre 1899

1898 – Adolfo HOHENSTEIN

CHF 5260.–

Called “Liberty” in Italy, “Nieuwe Kunst” in Holland or “Tiffany” in the USA, Art Nouveau was spread in the Occident.

Privat-Livemont is the most famous Jugendstil poster artists in Belgium is and Adolfo Hohenstein in Italy.

Certain of the Secession artists like Gustav Klimt in Austria or Franz Von Stück in Munich were also influenced by Art Nouveau.

Numerous artists such as Paul Berthon or William H. Bradley in the USA, also made some remarkable contributions to this movement, which is considered as the representation of beauty.

The War 1914-1918

The beginning of the World War I marked the end of Art Nouveau and the Belle Epoque. Mobilization and austerity prevailed. The diffused message of war posters of that era, particularly in France, USA or even in Germany, was aiming at collecting funds for the wounded.

These posters are often printed in one or two colors on bad quality paper. They testify the history of the 20th century and are highly collectable museum pieces.

Crédit Commercial de France, Souscrivez pour la Victoire

1918 – L. JONAS

CHF 670.–

Leonetto Cappiello (Livorno 1875 - Cannes 1942)

Leonetto Cappiello became renowned during the poster boom period in the early 20th century. He transcended the poster from the street to the level of fine Art. He collaborated with the journal “Frou-Frou”, for which he created his first poster in 1901.

In 1903 he designed his poster for ‘Chocolat Klaus’ which depicts a woman dressed in green rides a red horse at a unified a black background. The text ‘Chocolat Klaus’ stands out in bright yellow. The impact of this poster was immediate – clients asked for the chocolates ‘with the red horse’. This was the beginning of modern publicity and the comprehension of its techniques.

Chocolat Klaus

1903 – Leonetto CAPPIELLO


Campari. Bitter Campari, the medium Orange Peel (Jester)

1921 – Leonetto CAPPIELLO


By transgressing the artistic traditions of the Belle époque, he liberated the poster from its constraints and declared the arrival of a totally new direction that would transform graphic art during the 20th century.
Cappiello’s method was based on the visual surprise: the poster’s image visually leaps out and easily attracts the attention of passersby. He used characters, animals, clowns or masked faces contrasted in a colorful or black background to sell many products. Often the chosen figure was not related with the product. His style was to use a strong starting concept, together with dominant lines, curves and intense colors.

From 1901 to 1939, Cappiello produced nearly 550 posters for French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Swiss companies, which have became mythical in poster history.

Secession 1897-1918

Approximately around 1892, an artistic current began to emerge from Vienna that differed from the French and Belgian forms of “Art Nouveau”. In rupture with the classic imperial art inspired by Baroque, the Viennese artists were influenced by both the already existing Art Nouveau and Gothic Art. This Viennese Art Nouveau was less “vegetal” and more “geometric” in comparison with the French and Belgian Art Nouveau artists.

In 1897, Gustav Klimt, Josef Maria Olbrich and Josef Hoffmann founded the “Secession” movement (the “Wiener Secession” in German) under the form of a group of architects and plasticizers.
In order to fulfill their aims (create a “total” art, new and international, and to fight against the nationalistic surge in Europe) they created their own exhibition space – the Secession palace on the plans of Joseph Olbrich. Numerous avant-garde artists would exhibit in this “temple of art”: Gustav Klimt of course, but also Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, Franz Von Stuck or Ferdinand Hodler. Many of their works were labeled “scandalous” and were considered by their contemporaries as “crimes against art”.

Secession, april-mai

1912 – Richard HARLFINGER


The Secession posters represented avant-garde compositions that were inspired by illustration, decoration and typography. They were mostly cultural in theme (exhibitions, theatre, books, etc) and their particular typography was considered to be unreadable at that time.

Today, the great series of posters designed by these masters for the exhibitions of the group in the Secession Palace, are perceived as masterpieces of art history. They are extremely expensive and rare. Certain examples have reached tens of thousands of $.
From 1897 to 1903 the movement published the “Ver Sacrum” a review that became the artistic manifesto and official discourse of the Secession. Other reviews such as “Pan” and “Simplicissimus” also participated in the expansion of secessionist ideas. The movement was also developed in Germany, especially Munich, where Franz Von Stuck organized several exhibitions.
All these artists came up with new graphic and pictorial compositions, created in a more liberated manner. Their work announced the arrival of Expressionism and the artistic evolution of the 20th century.

Kunst-Ausstellung Münchens Secession, Krefeld

1904 – Franz VON STUCK

CHF 1870.–

Wiener Werkstatte 1903-1932

In 1903, the architects Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and the painter-designer Koloman Moser, founded a new association called “Wiener Werkstätte” (Viennese workshop) and distanced themselves from Art Nouveau. In their quest of a “total art”, applied to architecture, furniture, textiles, ceramic, jewellery, metalwork, woodwork and the fine arts, they founded “WW”, a production studio where designs pre-figured the Bauhaus experiments.

Gustav Klimt, Otto Eckmann, creator of a new alphabetic style (police), as well as Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele and Otto Wagner joined this production studio. The “WW” studio produced a multitude of avant-garde work up until 1932 and is represented in museums around the world.

Josef Hoffmann, Jugendstil und Zwanziger Jahre

1983 – René GAUCH, Joseph HOFFMANN, Marlen PEREZ (photographer)

CHF 470.–

SachPlakat or object poster (Germany and Switzerland 1905 -1960)

The brilliant “Waschanstalt Zürich AG” Rooster from 1904 by Robert Hardmeyer could be considered as the source of inspiration for the "SachPlakat" posters. Even though it is an animal, it reveals many characteristics of the object poster: one oversized product, the reference on the brand name, high quality paper and bright colors which were beautifully printed lithography in colors. In 1905 in Germany Lucian Bernhard began to design many beautiful object posters, showing merely product (Stiller, Manoli, Boesch).

In Switzerland, Otto Baumberger (illustration of PKZ coat) Otto Ernst, Charles Kühn or Jacomo Müller developed, in the twenties, the "SachPlakat" style.
In 1925 Niklaus Stoecklin in Basel created his famous wheel for the “cluser Transmissionen”. Via this poster began the SachPlakat Basel School accentuated by the printer “Wassermann”. From the thirties to the fifties, great Artists such as Herbert Leupin, Peter Birkhauser or Donald Brun produced many product posters, usually for the Basel industry.
Their object posters, being beautifully printed in lithography in colors, evoke an oversize “reality” providing, consequently, a hyper-realistic effect. For that reason the "SachPlakat" Basel school style is also called 'Magic Hyper-Realism'.

These original posters from the golden age of the Swiss printers and designers are currently considered as works of Art and are highly collectable. They are exhibited in many collections and museums around the world.
Object posters inspired Andy Warhol, especially for his paintings of Campbell soup.

Savon Steinfels, rendement supérieur

1943 – Herbert LEUPIN


Futurism Italy 1904-1939

In Italy Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and several other artists created a literary and artistic movement called 'Futurismo' which rejected both traditional styles and Art Nouveau. Inspired by the emergence of the divisionism of Cubism, these artists exalted in depicting the modern world, its towns, its machines and speed of movement. They experimented with form, color, perspective and light to express a sense of dynamism. In 1909 Marinetti wrote the “Futurist Manifesto”.

All documents, posters and publications of this group are extremely rare and almost impossible to find. This movement had an enormous influence in Italy and inspired numerous graphic designers from the 1920’s such as Depero, Nizzoli or Maga.

Campari, l'aperitivo

1926 – Marcello NIZZOLI

CHF 8800.–

DADA Switzerland 1914-1923

Several artists in Zürich were grouped around Tristan Tzara and Jean Arp. They produced works that were totally new and in clash with all artistic rules. They advocated the end of all ideologies and promoted total liberty in all artistic creation.
This was DADA, an intellectual, literary and aesthetic movement which, beginning from 1914, would completely defy all artistic and social rules.

The horrors of the WWI had made old conventions obsolete. Humor, derision, absurdity, infantile mood, disrespect, scandal, eroticism, nudity, collage, the abstraction and a totally deconstructed typography were the traits of Dada.
These Avant-Garde artists would express themselves in all aspects of Art, poetry, theatre, dance, paintings and sculpture. Their Art had a strong political, revolutionary and libertine content that upset the establishment and often provoked scandal. After the war, certain Dada happenings were censored, even prohibited and the works had been destroyed.

The name Dada originated in Zürich in May 1916 during an artists meeting (Tristan Tzarra, Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Marcel Janco and Sophie Taeuber-Arp) in a Niederdorf café that they baptized ‘Café Voltaire’. The origin and the meaning of ‘Dada’ remain still uncertain. The Dadaists deliberately covered their tracks by making contradictory declarations in spirit with the movement.
Dada is Dada.

Dada in Zürich

1980 – Max BILL

CHF 1270.–

From 1918 several artists joined the DADA movement: André Breton, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon and Erik Satie in France, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia and Man Ray in the USA, Georges Grosz and Kurt Schwitters in Germany. In 1921 most of the Parisians began to leave the group and in 1923 was declared, “Dada is dead”. This fact, paved the way for Surrealism.

Dada left us with very few printed documents. Several museums are lucky enough to have several posters of Dada events, usually small in size. These Art objects rarely distributed to the market. However Dada influence was enormous. By having broken all the rules, Dada allowed the diversity and creativity of Modern and Contemporary Art.
DADA is the Key to 20th century Art.

Exposition Hans Richter, théoricien, peintre et cinéaste dada, Zürich

1982 – Paul BRUHWILER

CHF 470.–

Constructivism USSR 1917-1981

A new graphic design would develop in Russia after the Communist revolution of 1917. In order to mobilize crowds and transmit political ideas, the new regime employed avant-garde artists. They would produce a large number of posters that were inspired by the art of the French Revolution, Cubism and Futurism.

In 1923 El Lissitzky became the theoretician of this artistic movement, called Constructivism, which claimed a reinvention of graphics and typography. Numerous artists joined, such as Vladimir Kozlinsky, Alexandre Rodchenko and Vladimir Maïakovski.

From the end of the 1920’s artists demonstrated their mastery of photo-montage techniques: The Stenberg brothers via their cinema posters, Gustav Klutsis through his productivist compositions or through his posters depicting huge crowds on their way to revolution. These early Constructivist posters are extremely rare.
The Soviet regime produced thousands of revolutionary posters relying on the same themes: portraits and citations of Lenin, Marx or Stalin, conquering soldiers overthrowing capitalism, tractors and hard working peasants in fields, workers looking towards the future in an industrial setting. This is the period of Productivism.

Despite the fact that posters of the 20’s-30’s are high requested and high priced the Communist posters of the 60’s-70’s are much more accessible.

BAUHAUS 1919-1933

Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 at Weimar. The notions of Wiener Werkstätte, cubism, influenced this artistic movement and constructivism proposing a new refined aesthetic revealed by simple and ergonomic forms. The quest of Bauhaus concerns primarily the architecture, the industrial design and the plastic arts.

Major artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ou Laszlo Moholy-Nagy embrace the Bauhaus. The posters of this movement are rare; few of them have been printed in short runs.

Bauhaus-Archiv, Museum für gestaltung, Eugene Batz-Martha Hoepffner

1981 – Nicolaus OTT

CHF 650.–

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Bauhaus


CHF 630.–

Photography at the Bauhaus, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

1994 – Yanek LONTEF

CHF 320.–

Bauhaus - 50 Jahre Ausstellung 1968, Stuttgart

1968 – Herbert BAYER

CHF 470.–


Between the two World Wars, in opposition to the natural arabesques of Art Nouveau (Art Nouveau’s organic inspiration), a new style would impose itself. Inspired by civilization’s technological development, the Art Deco style would try to redefine the simplicity and purity of forms and movement, principally by using the straight line and vivid colors. The term “Art Deco” is derived from the “Decorative Arts Exhibition” of 1925 in Paris.

Originating from the formal accomplishments of Cubism and Futurism (geometric forms, dynamism, perspective, structure and contrasting colors), graphic artists created posters of a rare intellectual purity using vivid colors and highly stylized forms. The feeling of artistic liberty brought by Leonetto Cappiello and the avant-gardists of the 20th century, opened the way for this graphical and typographical quest that has retained its modernity even today.

Chaudières Diamant Dietrich

1930 circa – Francis BERNARD

CHF 4500.–

A.M. Cassandre

With his posters for the “Normandie paquebot”, “Etoile du Nord, Nord Express” or his famous triptych “Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet”, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre is certainly the most well known Art deco graphic designer in the world. The highly identifiable style of Cassandre is the result of a simplification of form and the accentuation of perspective that underlines the geometrical aspect of his subjects. He was one of the first artists to use lettering as a graphic element that is essential to the composition.

These posters have become icons of Art Deco. In 1926 he founded the agency “Alliance Graphique” and in 1930 joined the U.A.M (Union des Artistes Modernes) uniting the five great French graphic artists of this period: Cassandre, Jean Carlu, Paul Colin, Charles Loupot and Francis Bernard.
They presented posters that were light and modern, together with a typography that was easily read, and a composition that was free from all the heaviness of past design.

The “Cassandre style” would inspire numerous artists such as Georges Favre or Henry Reb in France, Otto Morach and Herbert Matter in Switzerland, Ludwig Hohlwein and Julius Engelhard in Germany, McKnight Kauffer in England or Seneca and Nizzoli in Italy.

Pépa Bonafé

1928 – Jean CARLU

CHF 1500.–

Art Deco Chic

Artist like Roger Broders, George Barbier or René Vincent came up with the style Art Deco Chic: magnificently slender women from high society wearing Chapeaux cloches (bell-hats) accompanied by greyhounds proposing luxury cars or skiing and golfing holidays.

Mont-Blanc, Sports d'hiver, Au Col de la Voza par St-Gervais, chemin de fer du Mont-Blanc, PLM

1929 circa – Roger BRODERS



During the WWII, the artistic production declined. The creation of the posters of that era, particularly in France, focused on the diffusion of the issues of nutrition, resistance, collaboration and support to the efforts of war: « the poster satisfies the governmental needs of propaganda, wherever we place a poster, it appeals at the citizenship, the maintenance of the national security at the participation at the production, and the fight against the invaders ».

The production of the posters increased, having as an objective to induce the society to subscribe at the national loan. The poster « Ne jetez Rien (1941) » created by an anonymous artist, suggests to the population to conscientiously sort its waste in order to make the recovery. In these times of war, when everyone spies on their neighbors and publicly denunciates them, posters warn the public against collaboration or advocate confidentiality and silence, for example, the poster of Seiler, Silence, The enemy is listening (circa 1941).
In Germany, a large production of posters supported the Nazi party; many artists such as Hans Schweitzer so - called Mjölnir, or Theo Matejko, portray athletic men of the Aryan type, raising the flag of the Reich party adorned with the cross Swastika, or portraits of Adolf Hitler.

Jeunes gens! Votre relève ! Engagez-vous pour la bataille des champs

1943 – Noel FONTANET

CHF 990.–

The American posters deal with the war loan and the production, presenting a positive and salvation entry to war. This notion is illustrated at the posters of Leslie Ragan, The United Nations Fight for Freedom (1943), and Herbert Matter, America calling, civilian defence (1941), who glorify the image of the United States by relying on the motif of the American flag. The French artist Jean Carlu exiled himself in the United States and created anti-Nazi posters at the request of the pentagon. Remarkable examples are his posters: Between the Hammer and the Anvil (1944) in Philadelphia where we see the destruction of the cross squashed between the hammer of the allies and the French anvil.

Despite this dark period, Switzerland continued to develop its advertising art: "the drawings are artistic, the printing technique is impressive, the poster becomes impeccable". In 1941 the Federal Council established the "Swiss Poster Award" in a desire to beautify the streets by the omnipresence of colored posters. The Swiss Poster Award was granted to Swiss artists such as Niklaus Stoecklin or Herbert Leupin. This measure enhanced not only the graphic industry but also contributed to the development of Swiss Style or "Style Suisse International".

America calling, take your place in civilian defense

1941 – Herbert MATTER

CHF 1450.–


Before the war the posters of Exhibitions, evoke sadness as being created in black white and being produced by less means. After the war, Paris became an important center of artistic creation and the rise of the Ecole de Paris led the painters to create posters.

Among others, Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler drew three or four posters, Henri Matisse created tourist posters such as Nice, Travail et Joie (1947) and Pablo Picasso created a beautiful tourist poster for the Côte d'Azur In 1962.
The "Pop Art" artist Roy Lichtenstein drew cultural posters such as Aspen Jazz Festival (1967) or Minnesota Theater Company, Merton of the movies (1968), similarly, Keith Haring, who created Frankfurt, Theater der Welt (1985) with shapes surrounded by black with brightly colored on which the characteristic figures of the artist "Street Art" can be recognized.

Côte d'Azur

1961 – Pablo PICASSO (after)

CHF 990.–


Similarly to the transport companies, sports federations rely on artists to develop their posters promoting football, tennis and Olympic competitions.

Many painters like Hans Erni, Pierre Alechinsky, Erro, Eduardo Arroyo, Jacques Monory, Pol Bury and many others will be brilliant in the art of the poster and meet mandates. Catalan Joan Miro, a football fan, designed Copa del Mundo de Futbol, Espana (1982) for the football world cup in Spain, in his very recognizable style, both "naïve" and dreamlike. For the same occasion, Antoni Tapies created an abstract poster Copa del Mundo de Futbol, España 82, Barcelona, which became the field of pictorial experiments of the artist and the reflection of his reflection around gesture, matter and calligraphy.

Copa del Mundo de Futbol Espana 82, Vigo

1982 – MONORY

CHF 350.–

The Olympic Games also commission posters for painters from 1972 with Josef Albers' Optical Art Poster, JO Munich 1972, experimented with the illusion of depth of a window opening onto the color blue. The work pictorially transcribes Alberti's quotation "art is an open window on the world".

The Swiss Jean Tinguely creates a poster Lausanne, 75 years of the IOC (1973) which combines the techniques of collage, photography, drawing and painting. In his Los Angeles 1984 poster, Olympic Games (1982), of which there are 750 copies signed by the artist, Roy Lichtenstein represents a rider on his mount by breaking down the movement of the horse at a gallop. Finally, Andy Warhol with Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, 16th Olympic Winter Games (1984) created a Pop Art poster that showed a skater launched at full speed. These posters celebrate the "true encounter, without trickery, without artificial veneer of contemporary art and sport"!

Lausanne, 75 ans du CIO

1990 – Jean TINGUELY

CHF 370.–


The end of the Second World War marks a decisive turning point in the poster's history. Indeed, a wind of hope was blowing at Europe being in the midst of reconstruction and themes such as leisure, health and relaxation appear in the posters from 1945 onwards. The message disseminated by the posters addresses the mere promotion of a landscape or a service; it seeks, hence, to convey emotional values.

For example, popular holidays become a favorite subject of French artists, Bernard Villemot with his poster Vichy Mai-Octobre (1953), Paul Colin or Vincent Guerra promote holiday destinations and spas, through stylized posters And colored.
Humor and the world of childhood and recklessness are also involved in the poster of the 1950s, in the work of Raymond Savignac with his poster Eutectic (1958) or Hervé Morvan. The spirit of the fifties is light, it captures the newness, so the sun, sport, and wellbeing become the favorite themes of European posters.

Vichy, Mai-Octobre

1953 – Bernard VILLEMOT

CHF 1145.–


After the war, the image of the woman in the advertising poster had been changing little by little, it was oscillating between two slightly reductive and dichotomous visions of her portrayal, the housewife devoted to her family, and a more controversial image, the one of the Pin-up girl.

This depiction of the woman of the American society is evident at the posters for the Coca-Cola brand. The calendar page Foyer ... Happiness, Coca Cola (November-December 1954), shows the marital happiness by illustrating a devoted housewife to her husband, slightly at a lower level than him on the image. While another advertising poster, Buvez-Coca-Cola (ca 1950) presents a young skater barefoot her legs in a seductive and very liberated pause: "Every soldier must be able to find a Coca-Cola for five hundred, And at whatever cost to the Company ".

Foyer...Bonheur, Coca Cola Novembre & Décembre 1954


CHF 430.–

The advertising poster has always used the image of the woman as a promotional medium, Liberty, a perfect American cigarette by Esbe (1947) presented a seductive bachelor with assured pace, while the men's fashion poster, Gloriette Shirt (1950), proposed a vision of the respectable and faithful married woman alongside her husband, and gradually the American woman emancipated sexually and financially, and the posters of the 1950s reveal a gradual change. Pin-ups appeared in the United States during the "Fifties". Since the Second World War, these erotic feminine figures, highly appreciated by American soldiers, have become popular and the posters explore their image. The G.I.s by pin punching the illustrations of these sexy female on their walls, help change the image of women and this new aesthetic would cause repercussions in various fields, including Swiss advertising of products as is the case for the poster in vogue, the new Lahco flower (ca 1955). Pin-ups invaded the United States in the forms of posters, advertising boxes, calendars, magazines or collectible vignettes. These pin-up posters with perfect faces, exalting the beauty of youth, designed by Walter Spinner, Alain Aslan or René Ranson are highly collectable.

Lahco, En vogue

1950 circa – AIbert BORER

CHF 850.–


In the 1950s, modernist posters appeared in the United States, Belgium and Italy. Inspired by both Futurism and Fifties, it offered an innovative aesthetic, oriented towards the future.

Indeed, these posters are the apology for speed, energy, technology and the size of cities. Their formal, complex and worked construction is based on geometric shapes. Patterns such as supersonic vehicles, imaginary planes, neon lights or brightly colored and fluorescent buildings are recurrent in modernist posters.
Remarkable examples of this modernist aesthetic are Verso il Belgio con la Sabena (1958) by G. Vanden Eynde, Monroe by Sascha Maurer (1952) and Divisumma, Hispano Olivetti (circa 1950).


1952 circa – Sascha MAURER

CHF 2240.–


During the period of the Atomic Age, General Dynamics, founded in 1952 by Erik Nitsche, promoted a positive and pacifist view of atomic energy and exalted the advancement of scientific and technological research.

It produced aircraft, rockets, nuclear power plants and medical tools for cancer research. The "GD" created among others the "USS Nautilus", the first nuclear-powered submarine presented in the poster Atom for Peace, Hydrodynamics (1955).
Nitsche drew three series of posters in the Swiss Format (90 x128 cm), numbering 28 between 1955 and 1960. Comprised of a rare ingenuity of graphic design; they promote the company to the general public. The first series, Atoms for Peace, printed in two editions of 1955 and 1956, were created on the occasion of the "International Conference on the Pacific Use of Atomic Energy", held at the United Nations in Geneva on 8 To 20 August 1955. This conference would lead to the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1956.

General Dynamics, Atoms for peace

1955 – Erik NITSCHE

CHF 2490.–


Exploring the Universe, the second series, drawn between 1957 and 1958, presented the scientific research carried out by General Dynamics on the occasion of the second "International Conference on the Pacific Use of Atomic Energy" in Geneva in 1958. On this occasion, the atomic reactor "Triga" is presented to the public. The third series, Energy and Industrial Products printed in 1960 depicts the different divisions of General Dynamics.

Today they are pieces of high quality design, exhibited by museums and highly sought by collectors. It is difficult to collect the complete collection of General Dynamics posters.

General Dynamics, exploring the Universe, Nuclear fusion

1957 – Erik NITSCHE

CHF 1970.–


The Swiss International Style or "Swiss International" appeared in Switzerland through two schools in Basel and Zürich from the 1950's. It is inspired by the Bauhaus's formal discoveries and provided a visual solution to Swiss trilingualism. Indeed, the Swiss Style International posters offer a simple, uncluttered, objective aesthetic and disclose a clear and comprehensible visual message, which abolishes the borders between German, French and Italian, the three languages spoken in Switzerland: The Swiss typographic poster is distinguished by rigor, clarity, precision and is the result of a reflection on communication ".

This solution was expanding internationally; the Swiss Style was growing and gradually became the predominant graphic design style in the 1970s. It is a demanding graphic design work, which follows strict rules, such as an asymmetric layout and the use of sans-serif characters (with the creation of the Helvetica font in 1961).

Stadttheater Basel

1961 – Armin HOFMANN

CHF 1330.–

Talented artists such as Josef Müller-Brockmann with his graphically unusual posters such as the poster for the Concert by Georg Solti and Claudio Arrau (1960), Carlo Vivarelli, Armin Hofmann with his series for the Stadt Theater Basel, Kurt Wirth with posters for Swissair or Karl Gerstner and Markus Kutter for the National Zeitung create Swiss Style International posters, true masterpieces of graphic design.

These Swiss artists gathered in 1958 and founded the magazine "Neue Grafik" which defined the rules of the International typographic style, which are clarity, precision and balance. If the school of Zürich advocated rigor and sobriety, the Basel school was more experimental and offered greater freedom and spontaneity. The Hofmann Basel School was linked up with the Yale design school in the United States, which would become the American leader of the Swiss Style.

Georg Solti, Claudio Arrau, Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Tonhalle Zürich


CHF 990.–


Swiss Style International gradually declined in the late 1970s. Graphic artist and typographer Wolfgang Weingart liberated the Swiss poster from the rigid and dogmatic formal constraints of Swiss Style and proposed a design oriented towards experimentation, which was coined as " Weingart style ". He became a professor at the Basel School and met Emil Ruder and Armin Hofmann, and his teaching was disseminated around the world. Weingart offered a more complex, experimental and destructured graphics with strong contrasts using offset printing or screen printing, as is the case in his poster for the Kunstkredit Exhibition in Basel in 1976.

He drew the cover of Bruno Margadant's book for the Swiss poster exhibition Das Schweizer Plakat in 1983. In a complex and colorful composition that resembles a collage, it depicts the traditional symbols of Switzerland, White cross, Red Cross and Matterhorn, innovative and revolutionary.
His artistic work still has repercussions on the creation of graphic designers particularly in the field of computer design.
A second movement was born in Zürich in the same years around Siegfried Odermatt and Rosmarie Tissi, who have collaborated in the same design studio since 1968. They develop an innovative design that, nevertheless, follows the rules of legibility and clarity established by the Swiss International Style. Their posters are drawn according to original criteria such as staging the color dramatically, using photography or dividing space on a single page. The duo pays special attention to the work of form and texture; they reframe and resize the objects in their posters.

The Swiss Poster, Birkhäuser Publishers Basel - Boston

1983 – Wolfgang WEINGART



"Pop Art" brings together artists such as Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi around the "Independent Group" created in 1955 in London. Followed closely by its counterpart New Yorker, it was developed in the United States during the years 1960 with artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg or Andy Warhol.

This movement desacralized the status of the artist and raised questions about the value of market art, the legitimacy of the creative act and the reproducibility of a work of art, as well as an object of consumption. Indeed, the word "Pop Art" is the abbreviation of "popular art, the artists of movement were experimenting with the impact of the "Low Culture" (namely magazines, Comic strip, television and advertising) on that of "High Culture": institutionalized art. In this way, objects of everyday life acquired the legitimate status of a work of art, by the simple decision and perspective of the artist.
For example, Andy Warhol denied the uniqueness of the work; he declined boxes of Campbell's Soup in color through his 1962 serigraphs. He used humor and controversy to demystify art: "Making money, it is art, and work is art. Making good business is the best art". Warhol produced fifteen very beautiful advertising posters.

Aspen Winter Jazz 1967


CHF 4350.–


The graphic production of the years 1960-1970 is marked by the disputing ideas of its time; it demonstrates a will to eliminate traditional values, notably through the emergence of the Hippie movement.
The arrival of the "Pop music" generated the production of very colorful and psychedelic posters promoting concerts. This is the case of Rick Griffin in San Francisco who drew posters for groups Jook Savages (1965),"The Charlatans" or "Grateful Dead". These posters, printed in lithography, promote the liberation of morals and serve as the apology of drug use suggested via humorous and creative compositions that seek to recreate visually the hallucinogenic effects of LSD, psychotropic and magic mushrooms, volutes and fluorescent colors.

Other Californian artists like Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson and Alton Kelley revisited the posters of the past. They include in their psychedelic compositions, the curves and ornamentations of the Art Nouveau movement and the works of Mucha in The aesthetics of psychedelic posters also borrow traits from Indian art, it is saturated with tangled curves, juxtaposed garish colors, and often features an unreadable typography.

John Lennon, Look Magazine

1967 – Richard AVEDON

CHF 970.–

In New York, the "Push Pin Studio" created by Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, incorporated the ideas of the hippie movement to advertising. Glaser created the poster for the concert of Bob Dylan (1966) evoking a contrast between the bright colors of the hair and the face of the singer in black on a white background. The graphic discoveries of American posters were expanded to Europe, especially in London. The European pop poster is inspired both by psychedelia, mysticism and punk culture.

At the end of the 1960s, the poster abandoned the playful dimension of Pop Art and psychedelia, it became politicized and contributed to the protest movement against ideologies and policies in the 1970s, notably to defend the rights of blacks, Women, homosexuals and those excluded from society of all kinds. These protest movements gave birth to various academic chairs around the world, which raise new directions of reflection, the "Cultural Studies", the "Gender Studies" and the "Queer Studies".


1966 – Milton GLASER



Hans Feurer for Lee Cooper

1980 circa – ANONYMOUS

CHF 570.–

The postmodern period is defined by a desire to combine "Low Culture", mass culture, consumer products and advertising with "High Culture", classical, traditional and canonical art. Postmodernism is born in a capitalist era where the artistic sphere is closely linked to the economy. Brand culture was becoming more and more important and advertising was infiltrated in all areas. The era of artists' groups and manifestos is vanished; postmodernism has seen the concept of "personal mythologies" or "individual mythologies" appearing in the term invented by Harald Szeemann in 1972.

Indeed, from the 1980s onwards, artists affirmed an individual and personal art, they questioned their own history and their own identity through the visual arts, photography or performance. The posters also asserted their own style and offered many more personal and different directions from one another.


During the contemporary period, the treatment of photography took over the drawing with the advent of Photoshop. Many artists resort to the process of manipulating photos by modifying the colors, the staging or even the scaling.

This phenomenon was widely developed in the poster world. Edgar Küng drew a poster for the 53rd Motor Show in Geneva (1983) in which the wheels of the cars featured a pair of eyes or binoculars, this visual trick that was both humorous and ingenious, invited the viewer to go to the event to "have a look".
The Swiss artist Paul Brühwiler created scenes in a photomontage, idem for Fritz Lang Retrospektive (1983), for the film festival Filmpodium in Zürich. Various photographs from the films of this German director seem to radiate from his mind in a composition "star" around the portrait of Lang.
For his poster of the XVI Olympic Winter Games of Sarajevo (1984), David Hockney created a photomontage where the various parts of the body of a skater photographed under several facets are juxtaposed, as through a prism, suggesting the dynamism and energy released by the rotational movement.

Genève, 53e Salon de l'Auto, 1983

1983 – Edgar KUNG

CHF 370.–

The photo manipulation is also evident at the promotion of cultural events. This is the case for the works of the Swiss artist Werner Jeker who produced numerous posters, often in black and white, for the Musée de l'Elysée, the Vidy Theater, the Art Brut Collection or the Swiss Cinemathèque. Added to this, he created the poster for the exhibition and films by René Clair (1983) at the Cinémathèque du Casino de Montbenon in Lausanne.

For the Genevan Roger Pfund, the poster "does not have to be readable from a distance", in 1992 he created the poster of the Geneva Jazz Festival which depicted a face in close-up, made up in primary colors and dotted with the names of the artists; the work encourages the passer-by analyze and decode the program of the festival. The Cassandre poster for the Théâtre de la Comédie in Geneva (1992) was constructed in the same way, as the spectator was invited to observe and interpret the content of the poster since the general information about the show were written vertically. In a more playful fashion, Pfund drew the Cirque Knie poster: Long live the Circus! (2011). Its composition evokes brightly colored Mandala animals.

Jazz Festival à Genève, Plaine de Plainpalais

1992 – Roger & Sophie PFUND

CHF 290.–

Contemporary advertising indicates fine examples of staged photography. The French artist Christian Coigny produced a series of posters for the Bon Génie et Grieder boutiques from 1975 to 1985. His poetic compositions promoted the clothing of the brand in a dreamlike and offbeat manner. Introspective characters evolved in timeless and artificial landscapes. Like Cindy Sherman's Fashion (1983-1994), Coigny derided the surreal and artificial world of fashion by leaving the process of making the image apparent.

The anonymous Fitness Club: Equilibrium (1991) poster for Fitness "Pleine Forme" in Lausanne, Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds featured an equilibrium egg on the skull of a black man.


1980 circa – Christian COIGNY

CHF 360.–

Finally, manipulated photography is used for tourist posters promoting travel destinations and transportation companies. The Swiss-German Georg Gerster created photographic skyline posters for Swissair reissued in 1971, 1979 and 1996. The desert landscapes sublimated by the choice of the artist invite the viewer to travel, through geometric compositions to the intelligence Natural or urban graphic, revealed the strength and beauty of the planet, as is the case with Argentina (1979).

Beat Keller also created a poster for Swissair Aviation Company, which received the Swiss Poster Award in 1987, “Swissair. What do you think about Swissair's new route to Atlanta? OK”, it illustrated the close-up photograph of a can of Coca-Cola dripping with moisture. This shooting tip combined humor and linguistic ingenuity to promote the aviation company.
Philippe Giegel developed posters for the Swiss Tourist Board (ONST-SVZ) as well as the Swiss Tourist Office. The air of the Alps (1987), an image of Epinal which praises the Swiss mountain via the implementation of photo manipulation depicting a group of walkers descending from the mountain, of which only the distended Chinese shadows are reflected on the wall.

Swissair, What do you have to say about Swissair's new route to Atlanta? OK

1987 – Beat KELLER

CHF 700.–


The illustrated posters also proliferate during the contemporary period in very varied and playful forms. They promote products, an idea or events, often through the diffusion of a humorous message.

The Frenchman Raymond Savignac created posters in which the ingenuity and effectiveness of the disseminated message is contrasted with the apparently childish drawing. The same direction follows, the political poster Drug, the gendarme riots (1995), where an oversized policeman lifts a hooligan carrying a suitcase inscribed "drug". If the drawing looks naive, the message is clear: "(The poster) knows it is ephemeral and has no time to lose. Having nothing to lose. (...) the poster practiced to the highest degree its art of saying a lot with rapidity and spirit. A quick glance as you pass and everything is seen and recorded. (...) it has the beauty of evidence and the spirit of synthesis".

Savignac used the joke to get the passer-by out of his gloom and attract his attention. For him, humor is a means of getting a message across in an efficient way and the poster is the ideal channel: "The development of a graphic gag is an exercise of great rigor and aerobatics".

Drogue, le Gendarme sévit

1995 – Raymond SAVIGNAC

CHF 280.–

Bernard Villemot drew many advertising posters of products that play with the viewer through humor, they act on the audience as visual charades. This is the case for Perrier c'est fou (1981), which shows a boat on a raging sea whose sails consist of bottles of Perrier drink. Or for Bally Shoes (1989), a stylized woman who plays with the earth as with a soccer ball and who suggests the message "with Bally shoes made in Switzerland, you can go around the world."

Chaussures Bally

1990 – Bernard VILLEMOT


Ruedi Wyler, with Zürcher Theater Spektakel (1991), makes fun of the spectator himself through a poster with unbridled humor that portrays a bourgeois theater lover, caricature and kitsch. Also for the Zürcher Theater Spektakel (1994), Edelweiss combines illustrated typography and photography in a provocatively humorous poster for the theatrical program of the Zürich Open-Air Festival. It shows the backs of a couple of bridegroom naked except for their headgear, physically unfavorable. It seems that the 1990s marked the end of the "politically correct".

Finally, the poster designers of "La Ligne Claire", with artists such as Joost Swarte, Ever Meulen, Yves Chaland and Ted Benoit, show a more squeaky humor in order to convey political messages. The artists of this movement, portray caricatures of the bosses, leaders and political parties in the form of animals in order to convey a” comic" style.

Mallemunt, Festival de théâtre et de musique

1983 – Ever MEULEN

CHF 350.–

Their drawings are characterized by the use of simple lines of equal thickness that delimit spaces and colors in flat areas. Illustrators of the Ligne Claire are versatile and produce book covers, album covers and posters. Their work, which takes root in the work of the Belgian draftsman Hergé, the father of "Tintin", is halfway between cartoon and illustration.

This is the case of the cartoonist Emmanuel Excoffier, known as Exem, in his poster No to the patronage law (1989), which shows a rat eager to smoke a cigar. The poster Tenants, do not let you stifle, yes to the law against land speculation (2000), represents a menacing octopus crushing houses and inhabitants between its giant tentacles. Exem also created posters for event, local, sports, or cultural subjects, such as the "Course de l'Escalade", the Street Festival, the Book Fair or the flea markets.

Non à la loi patronale contre la fonction publique

1989 – EXEM, Emmanuel EXCOFFIER

CHF 630.–

Musical cultural events gave rise to various humorous posters, which use the 9th art as an advertising medium, such as Eric Jeanmonod with Festival du Bois de la Bâtie (1979), Claude Luyet with Geneva, L'AMR aux Cropettes (1980), Ever Meulen and Eddy Flippo for the Mallemunt Theater and Music Festival (1981), Aloys with his AMR Jazz poster, Charlie's tribute (1984), and Georges Schwizgebel's Festival du Festival Wood of the Bâtie (1985).

Through these many examples, it appears that the Geneva tradition inscribes the comic strip in the history of the poster in a significant way.

Genève, L'AMR aux Cropettes

1980 circa – Claude LUYET

CHF 185.–