May 1 - June 30
We proudly present Tour de Force: Our 20th Anniversary Show, an exhibition of 40 poster highlights that echo some of our special areas of interest.
The exhibition opens with classics from the 1890s, the lithographic poster's first decade, which is often called the Golden Age of the Poster. It takes its cue from Eldorado, Toulouse-Lautrec's iconic portrait of an imposing Aristide Bruant announcing his performance at his famous Parisian cabaret in 1892. The poet and balladeer was famous for his sharp-tongued musical reviews that shocked and enthralled Parisians. Toulouse-Lautrec only produced 31 posters before his untimely death in 1901, but his pioneering efforts, this one of his earliest, would fuel a poster craze through the decade and forever elevate the poster as an artistic medium.
Another highlight of the show, which looks back to the Gallery's pioneering exhibitions on the Italian poster, are two superb rarities. The first, dating from 1912, is a large format fashion poster by Marcello Dudovich for the pioneering Italian retailer, E & A Mele. The elegant portrait of a Neapolitan beauty in a printed coat and hat makes as imposing an impression as Toulouse-Lautrec's creation. This is joined by Leopoldo Metlicovitz's poster for the 1907 Milan Automobile Show, which shows a race between a car and winged Mercury at dusk. It is one of Italy's most famous posters, and extremely rare.
The next focus of the show is the Twenties and Thirties. A stand-out collectible is the large format Art Deco poster for the first soccer World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, produced by the General Match Company of Montevideo. This highly abstract work shows a goalie reaching for a ball heading for the corner of the net. Another unusual design is a London Underground poster for an extension on the Morden Line in 1926 which uses a clever graphic solution to communicate its message powerfully.
A third section focuses on Mid-Century design. Most interesting is a never before seen life-size maquette, or preparatory painting, by Herbert Leupin for an Object Poster for PKZ, the Swiss men's clothier. It shows an extremely detailed label for the company, with a needle and thread that have just completed the last stitch. It is unknown why this poster was not put into production. Leupin created posters for PKZ in 1939 and 1942, and thought it special enough to retain in his personal archive.
Other highlights include:
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