Rene Wanner's Poster Page


front cover Polski Plakat Teatralny - Polish Theater Poster 1899 - 1999,
by Krzysztof Dydo; available from Krzysztof Dydo Galeria Plakatu, Cracow (PL); (June 2000); 320 pages, 21 x 29 cm, 820 color reproductions; ISBN 83-905899-6-6; in polish and english;

The standard work on polish theater posters, an incredibly rich selection from the best graphic design in Poland. Includes 70 pages of text, a detailed description of the posters and their designers, and index of plays and theaters and a theater poster bibliography.

Krzysztof Dydo, a long time collector and successful poster dealer in Cracow, Poland, has published four major books on polish posters in the last years: The 100th anniversary of polish poster art in 1993, Masters of polish poster art in 1995, Polish film poster in 1996, and now Polish theater poster in 2000, and the next works are already in progress. Each of the books is accompanied by a string of polish and international exhibitions, the present one for example in 18 locations from Sweden to Hungary.

How can he do it, without an editorial staff or a major publishing house in his back?

To begin with, most of the posters in his books are from his own collection, so he knows them well and has them at hand. In fact, as explained in the preface, he is just fulfilling himself a dream every collector has, to bring his treasures to light and have them enjoyed and admired by everybody.

Second, the books have a clear concept: The introductory texts are followed by the poster illustrations arranged in chronological order, and finally there is an extensive 30 page apparatus, with biographical notes on the poster designers, a detailed description of the posters with designer, year, title, size and more, and registers for the name of the play and it's author, and for the theater where it played, and all this is topped of with a bibliography of polish and international theater posters. Together, this is an incredible amount of solid information, arranged in a compact and easily accessible way.

It is such a pleasure and so easy, for example, to compare how different designers have treated the same subject, Tomaszewski and Stasys the Gombrowicz play "Historia", or Lenica, Rosocha and Adamczyk the various "Woyzeck"'s. You can do and verify your own theories on esthetic developments, starting from the very early Wyspianski poster in 1899 through the pre-war Gronowskis and ending with the last poster of the book, a very moving design by Jerzy Czerniawski for "Traviata".

Also, it becomes clear from the book that the dire predictions about the death of the polish poster after the political changes of the early 1990's can be set aside, at least for the moment.

1930, Tadeusz Gronowski 1983, Henryk Tomaszewski 1992, Stasys Eidrigevicius 1992, Rafal Olbinski

1964, Jan Lenica 1992, Wieslaw Rosocha 1997, Miroslaw Adamczyk 1999, Jerzy Czerniawski

The third factor for the high quality of this volume, and for the immense amount of work that went into it, are Krzysztof Dydo's many friends, both among designers, poster specialist, collectors and curators:

Irena Przymus from the poster collection of the National Museum in Poznan has put the computerized poster database of this museum to good use for the poster descriptions, the biographical data and the registers.

Text contributions are from Noboru Matsuura from the Ogaki Poster Museum in Japan, Ryszard Otreba, Anna Szpor-Weglarska with a 14 page article on early play-bills, Maria Kurpik from the Poster Museum in Wilanow, Martin Rosenberg from Chicago, Ewa Kruszewska, Raymond Vezina from Montreal, Maxime Lejeune, and Mariusz Knorowski.

Finally (in case you ask yourself why this is such a glowing review), I myself enjoyed the privilege to be a contributor and used my POSTER BIBLIOGRAPHY database to extract what I know about theater posters, and also wrote up some memories about collecting polish theater posters.

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