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Germanic Collections


Homepage History: GDR Poster Art GDR Poster Art and Chile GDR Poster Art and Nicaragua GDR Poster Art and other Latin American Countries GDR Poster Art and other Developing Nations Anti-USA Posters

History of Poster Art

The modern poster dates back to the 1870's, where it was first popularized in France by a man named Cheret. The word "poster" cannot be found before 1832. Its predecessor is the lithograph, and lithography is credited with the development of mass productions of large paper images. Senefelder (1771-1834) invented lithography in the mid-1800's. The Industrial Revolution brought about a revolution in printing machinery and techniques. New paper presses were developed that could handle large sheets of paper. The year 1848 saw the advent of the high speed printing press, which could print 10,000 sheets per hour.

Up until World War I, posters were primarily pictorial, depicting artwork, and were sold as merchandise. During the war, this all changed. Posters served warring nations by increasing morale and developing a sense of patriotism and support for the war. They were used to get people to invest in war bonds and government securities. Also, posters were used as publicity to raise funds for the Red Cross, and charities which served the wounded and their families. The use of posters for publicity, and to drum up political support were key changes in the use of this medium.

Cubism, the art movement which stemmed from Paul Cezanne and of which Picasso is the most famous artist, is also credited with the massification of posters. Picasso made his works available in poster form, bringing poster art back to its original uses as art. The artistic use of posters can be easily observed in the East German posters, posters which are notable for both their political content and artistic value.


Photo of Gerhard Voigt, GDR poster artist

photographer unknown

Gerhard Voigt, born in Halle, East Germany in 1926, was an extremely well-known and revered poster artist. He was Vice President of the Association of GDR Fine Artists, the association which sponsored the triennial Intergrafik exhibitions in Berlin.


"Anti-imperialistic Solidarity"

Gerhard Voigt (1981)

Voigt uses classic Soviet photo-montage poster style in this simple, yet effective propagandistic poster.


"International Women's Day"

Barbara Henniger (1986)

The GDR strongly supported International Women's Day on March 8th. This day encouraged international solidarity among women.


"Frieden der Welt" or "Peace in the World"

Arno Mohr (1984)


"Liberty for anti-imperialistic solidarity; Equality with the peoples of Latin America; Fraternity...Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood"

Ingo Arnold (1989)

Notice the happy youths posing "in solidarity."


Homepage History: GDR Poster Art GDR Poster Art and Chile GDR Poster Art and Nicaragua GDR Poster Art and other Latin American Countries GDR Poster Art and other Developing Nations Anti-USA Posters

 

 

Last modified: June 27, 2005

     
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