Donald Brun Poster Collection 02, Museum fuer Gestaltung Zuerich
Essay by Jean-Charles Giroud; Published by Felix Studinka / Lars Mueller Publishers CH-5401 Baden (CH)(October 2001); available from Museum fuer Gestaltung, Zuerich (CH); 64 pages, 69 color reproductions; 17 x 24 cm; softcover; ISBN 3-907078-53-5; in german and english; CHF 28 (about US$ 17)
Catalogue published for an exhibition at the Museum fuer Gestaltung, 2001.10.23 - 2002.02.08, with a list of posters, short bibliography and biography
The cover is a detail from a 1966 poster for Gauloises cigarettes
Having received an introduction into poster history in grade 2 from my elementary school teacher Lily Graf (god bless her for that), Herbert Leupin and Donald Brun were my first poster heroes. And of course everybody recognized their work in the streets of Switzerland, and loved it. Donald Brun was so famous internationally, we were told, that he got commissions from as far away as Belgium !
Although Donald Brun ( 1909 - 1999 ) seems to be largely forgotten today, heroes never die, and so his standing in my universe solidified when I learned much later that he was one of the four founding members of AGI, the prestigious international graphic designers association, and even more when I heard that the Museum fuer Gestaltung in Zuerich was organizing a personal exhibition and publishing a monograph, their first after a pause of many years. Justice had finally been done.
Imagine my shock and disbelief when I heard a poster dealer making disparaging remarks about the quality of Brun's posters ( "a few are good, the bulk is just soso" ), and when I read in the catalogue introduction sentences from Felix Studinka like
Looking back at Brun's posters from a distance of fifty years, it is obvious to me that he painted whatever people liked at the time, and succeeded admirably, and developed a rich graphic vocabulary in so doing. His fall from the grace of the experts worried me sufficiently that I checked what happened to some of his contemporaries in this respect:
Should we conclude that Donald Brun traded short time popularity for long time fame ?
Who knows. The catalogue fortunately is well illustrated so that you can make up your own mind. Jean-Charles Giroud, who's poster collection at the Bibliotheque Publique et Universitaire in Geneva holds Donald Brun's graphic estate, and who wrote the essay in the catalogue, takes a more pragmatic approach. Rather than classifying Brun as an artist, he looks at each poster and comments and compares them:
|1944, There is nothing better than Persil||1946, Use the phone!||1947, Aronal vitamin toothpaste||1953, Zwicky silk thread|
|The catalogue is number 02 of a series now being published in rapid succession by the Museum for Gestaltung in Zuerich, and is so good that I hope to see what will happen when they reach number 99.|
Museum fuer Gestaltung, Zuerich, exhibition review
Brun's biography in Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (in german)
Bata shoe poster at the International Poster Gallery
Poster for Binaca toothpaste
Google picture search on Donald Brun
Jim Lapides from the International Poster Gallery commented on 2002.01.19
home other reviews page created on January 19, 2002 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /