50 Years of Playful Poster Classics by Herbert Leupin
September 27 through November 15, 2002
Join us as we celebrate the work of Herbert Leupin (1916-1999) with The Art of the Smile, the first one-man show presented by the gallery. Leupin created more than 500 posters, 89 of which received awards in the prestigious Swiss Poster of the Year competitions.
As a leading exponent of the Sachplakat or "Object Poster" style of the 1940s, Leupin created a style of poster art that was both extremely direct and sensuously beautiful. His hyperrealistic posters, so technically precise and sophisticated, turned everyday objects into icons. Leupin's injection of marketing imagination and gentle humor propelled the style into the forefront of Swiss poster art in the Forties.
In the '50s, Leupin reinvented himself to create a more relaxed, cartoonish style that would usher in a new international advertising movement. Leupin continued to work through the next three decades in a variety of styles, showing a mastery of idioms as diverse as the International Typographic Style to Constructivism and Pop Art, always with a puckish sense of humor and refined taste.
Leupin's work revealed a rich, personal universe of characters, symbols, and anthropomorphized animals to attract and delight the child in all of us. His imagination was as fertile as his celebrated poster predecessor, Leonetto Cappiello, creating everything from stallions that smoke cigars, parrots that hawk grapefruit soda, monkeys, seals and clowns that promote the circus to friendly trees that greet skiers. Cappiello once wrote: "Surprise is the foundation of advertising; it is its necessary condition." Surely Leupin's work confirms this insight.
Over many years, we have assembled the largest collection of Herbert Leupin's posters in the world, including many rare works from before WWII.