Rene Wanner's Poster Page


front cover, 6k back cover, 6k inside cover, 4k Pabrue - Plakate - Bilder von Paul Bruehwiler,
with contributions by Walter Binder, Guido Magnaguagno, Lisa Puyplat, Willy Rotzler and Peter Zimmermann
Benteli Verlag, Bern (1999); available from Paul Bruehwiler, fax +41-41-410 96 56; 240 pages, 280 color reproductions, 17 x 24 cm, hardcover; ISBN 3-7165-1203-6; CHF 78 (about US$ 50 ); in german

(front, back and inside cover)

The full power of Paul Bruehwiler's posters struck me for the first time in the film poster exhibition that Niklaus Troxler organized in Willisau, Switzerland, in 1998. I was impressed by the many high quality posters he had made for the film festivals "Filmpodium" in Zuerich, a regular event that is sponsored by the city and has a knack for selecting good poster designers for its publicity.

Therefore I was glad when this book was published - in connection with a retrospective exhibition in Erlangen (D) - so I could see more of Bruehwiler's work, and was not disappointed in my expectations. Many of the reproductions are supplemented with Bruehwiler's comments about the background of the design, or the requirements of his clients. He is quite frank about it, and is not above showing different versions of a poster where he had to compromise to finally get it accepted.

These situations may be the daily bread for a poster designer exposed to the harsh realities of life. Still, I was incredulous when I read, for example, that Bruehwiler had to change the style of some handwritten typography on a poster for a festival of french culture, because the timid organizers where afraid it was not elegant enough and might offend the sensibilities of president Francois Mitterand.

Given these circumstances, it is no surprise that Bruehwiler, like many other designers, has escaped into a world of free graphic work, drawing and painting, and attaches equal importance to this part of his life as to his commercial work. About half of the book is devoted to it, and fortunately the two sides overlap to some extent, and inspire each other.

Poster, 5k 1975, Filmpodium Zuerich, Russian silent movies Poster, 2k 1980, Filmpodium Zuerich, Luis Bunuel Poster, 9k 1983, Filmpodium Zuerich, Fritz Lang Poster, 7k 1997, Internationale Literaturtage Erlangen Poster, 6k 1998, Luzerner Theater

Paul Bruehwiler has had a successful career in France, the United States where he collaborated with Saul Bass and Charles Eames, and back in his native Switzerland where he is a freelance graphic designer since 1973 and teaches at the Schule fuer Gestaltung in Lucerne. This book is not only a beautiful collection of posters and paintings, but a very personal autobiography, open, honest, unpretentious.

Links on Bruehwiler
International Poster Gallery (has about 14 Bruehwiler posters on it's site)
Artifiche (has about 20 Bruehwiler posters on it's site)
Exhibition at the Staedtische Galerie Erlangen (D), 1999

home   other reviews  page created on December 6, 1999 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /