The first thing you'll notice about the posters on this web site, drawn from the Golden Age of Polish Posters (1950-1980), is that they appear quite unlike most movie posters, theater posters, or music posters you've seen before.
That era brought a deliberate, concerted movement among graphic designers in Poland to transform the traditional poster into something radically different. Something wild. The concept snowballed into many years and many thousands of posters that offered the viewer both information and a brief encounter with art, usually head-turning art.
Rather than employ Hollywood "star power" in glamorous shots of the actors, or "impact" scenes with explosive poster-sized stills, the shift was to a completely graphic interpretation of the theme or plot of the movie or play or event. And the interpretation belonged to the poster's creator only. In other words, the design of the poster told something of a visual story about the story, dictated by the artist's imagination rather than Hollywood or other entertainment industries and their accepted marketing rules.
Designers actively integrated a more "painterly" approach, pushing the boundaries of well-entrenched graphic design for the entertainment industry. In short order, the "School of Polish Poster" (not a physical learning facility but a school of thought or a style) built an international reputation for poster art that was different, skilled, fresh, intriguing, and often pretty weird.
Most of the pioneers of the Polish School embraced the abstract to some degree. Many were also children of the European Surrealists in an artistic sense, and kin to the "Action Painters" breaking out with a bang simultaneously in the West. It showed in their work, and that's part of what we celebrate on this site. By the late 1950s, Polish graphic artists had won dozens of international awards with an approach that turned poster design on its ear. Surrealism and the abstract, of course, dovetailed nicely with the psychedelia of popular art throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and Polish artists were quick to put their mark on that style, as well.
This site is designed as a place to wander about and enjoy two distinctively different, but quite inter-related, types of visual art. The hand-brushed canvas and the machine-printed art poster intersect here to present a view of our cultural histories as seen through Apparition Studio's surrealistic lens. Thanks very much for visiting!
SORRY, NOTHING ON THIS SITE IS FOR SALE.
Apparition Studio is intended as a cultural and educational resource. Browse around at your leisure because the art here is cool and commercial-free. If you are a beginner or serious collector, student or educator, aspiring or working designer, film buff or theater fan, this web site also offers a wealth of more detailed information that may be of interest.
-Please don't copy or download anything on this site without permission.
-Representatives of Apparition Studio - Chicago are actively engaged in volunteer academic and community/cultural presentations. If you have a group that would enjoy a conversation and exhibit of this remarkable artwork, drop us a line.
Attn: Curators, serious collectors and archivists: While detailed database information is already available for Polish film posters from several sources, we've attempted to research much more production information for live theater and music festival than has been previously available. We'd love your feedback on this newly-archived information and if you have something to add, let us hear from you!
A project like this can't be completed alone. Special thanks to: Barb, Tomek, Anton, Diane and Cracky.
Meet our staff:
Our Featured Poster Gallery is a great place to start your visit. Around 50 carefully selected posters from the Golden Age of Polish Posters (1950-1980) can be viewed here, many with stories to tell. Additionally, be sure to visit our new series of Portfolios in Cultural History in the Featured Poster Gallery, where the artistic contributions of a Pope, The Beatles, Stalin (in a back-handed way) and others are celebrated in poster.
The Mona Lisa makes an appearance over in the Anton Exhibit. Guest artist Anton Brzezinski (b. 1946) is a Polish-American painter, primarily of Surrealisms. His original artwork deals with all manner of the fantastical, though. None of it can harm you, and that's an Apparition of a promise.
Our complete Classic Polish Poster Archive contains over 300 posters, each with detailed information about the event, the design, the printing, and the artist. Most are entertainment-related, but there are political, travel and others types mixed in as well.
Please be sure to enjoy a stop at the Fireside Room, where a refreshing assortment of bite-size surrealist literature is offered in the relaxed setting of an informal French parlour. This room is maintained by the Hello Dali Poets Society. There is no smoking in the Fireside Room, due to the gas fireplace.