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Growing archive of articles about film poster designers and artists from Czechoslovakia.

Altrichter Rudolf | Balcar Jiří | Bidlo Vladimír | Bláhová Naděžda | Born Adolf | Bradáč Jaromir | Brož Robert | Brychta Jan | Dlouhý Bedřich | Duchoň Josef | Duda Stanislav | Fišer Jaroslav | Unknown Artists | Vajce Stanislav

The Story of Film Posters:
Take 1, Take 2

Poster Designs / Sixties – Jaromír Bradáč. The Story of Film Posters.

Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.

Poster Designer / Jaromír Bradáč

Graphic Art

Pasha, original film poster, poster art

Pasha, Jaromír Bradáč, 1969.

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   Movie poster shown on the picture above has been seen previously in one of our articles on History of Poster Design in Czechoslovakia. It did not stop us from refreshing the memory as we are strongly effected by its expressiveness. Jean Gabin‘s common impression for every French born was broken into uncertainty. Divided into parallel fields as in the rhythm similar to main theme of that phenomenal soundtrack composed by Serge Gainsbourg. Music moves on as we can see even on the letters, one can hear the most peculiar sounds.

Mysterious poster for Georges Lautner‘s film is hiding one extra mystery and that is the poster designer himself. Jaromír Bradáč remains the one, or at least for now. You can count number of his film posters on your left hand and that’s about everything we could track on this fantastic graphic designer. Hopefully the future will show some more light about him, as we believe five film posters is not everything he did.

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Film poster, 1960s poster design

A Study About Women, film poster by Jaromír Bradáč, 1968.

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Note: article is part of  Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters.

You can explore other interesting film poster designs made in Sixties available in our poster shop.

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Poster Designs / Sixties – Adolf Born. The Story of Film Posters.

Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.

Poster Designer / Adolf Born

Painting / Stage Design / Illustration / Graphic Art / Caricature / Animation

Film poster, Adolf Born, 60s poster design

Virgin Soil Upturned – Adolf Born, 1960.

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  • b. 12th of June 1930, České Velenice, Czech Republic
  • lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic

Education:

  • 1949−1950, Charles University, Prague (Faculty of Pedagogy / Art?)
  • 1950−1953, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Pelc Antonín)
  • 1953−1955, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague (Pelc Antonín)

Awards:

  • many, mostly for his animated films and book illustration (few shown bellow)
  • 1974, caricaturist of the year, Montreal
  • 1979, Golden Apple, Book Illustration Biennials, Bratislava
  • 1985(?), Gold Medal, IBA, Leipzig
  • 1988, Honorary Artist

Film posters designed: 19 (1959-1989)1

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FIlm poster, Adolf Born 60s poster artThe Smallest Show on Earth – Adolf Born / Oldřich Jelínek, 1960.

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To meet with the fantastic world of Czech artist Adolf Born in former Czechoslovakia was not as complicated. One only had to get born there and the ticket for his show was lying in front of you. His visual presence was absolutely everywhere. Book illustrations and television programme was provided for the smallest audience and for those older ones there were magazines covered with his caricatures. He has also made the older population interested into watching animated films for the children.

Adolf Born’s work is well known also to international spectator. His book illustrations (over 400 books) and animated films (by the 1980 he produced 45 of them)2 visited many countries and have taken part in many exhibitions. Humorous depiction is very characteristic in his work. Adolf Born is here to make you smile.

His film poster portfolio extends from early 1960s all the way to mid 1990s, with limited number designed. Adolf Born was preoccupied with other things. Film posters were possibly only other commission he was getting from the art union, where every illustrator/graphic had to be a member. Very few, but all very impressive. If the film poster was not made for the World War II film, it would definitely leave one with the grin on the face.

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Burning Daylight, J.London, cover by Adolf Born

Front cover for the Burning Daylight / Jack London, illustrated by Adolf Born, 1970.

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Note: this showcase is part of our ongoing article Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters.

Available posters by Adolf Born or other interesting film posters designed in Sixties.

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Resources:

Literature:

  • 1. Flashback / Czech and Slovak Film Posters 1959-1989, ed. Libor Gronský, Marek Perůtka, Michal Soukup, Olomouc Museum of Art, 2004. (p.45)
  • 2. BIB, Bienále Ilustrácií / Biennale of Illustration ’79 ’81, Bratislava; Anna Horváthová, Mladé Letá, 1983 (p.60)
  • 3. Burning Daylight / Jack London; Lidová knihovna, 1970

Online resources:

  • abArt / Adolf Born
  • Český Rozhlas / Czech Radio Broadcast (archive full of interviews with Adolf Born)

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Poster Designs / Sixties – Vladimír Bidlo. The Story of Film Posters.

Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.

Poster Designer / Vladimír Bidlo

Painting / Graphic Art / Illustration

Vladimír Bidlo, Sweet Bird of Youth, Original Film Poster

Sweet Bird of Youth movie poster by Vladimír Bidlo, 1962.

  • 19th of October 1926, Kouřim, Czech Republic
  • 1997, Prague, Czech Republic

Education:

  • 1945−1950, State Graphic School, Prague
  • 1945−1950, Charles University, Prague (Faculty of Pedagogy / Art?)
  • 1945−1950, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (prof. F. Tichý)

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Sixties poster design brought in many interesting artists coming also from other art disciplines. Czech illustrator, graphic and poster artist Vladimír Bidlo is certainly one of them. His adventurous repertoire of film posters starts somewhere in the beginning of 1960s and extends to the mid 1970s. Vladimír Bidlo’s film posters are proving his incredible talent for drawing and illustration (The Appaloosa, below). He also falls for photography and mix the two delicately as can be seen on his earlier film posters.

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We believe poster design for Miloš Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball had to resonate together with the film on its premiere in Cannes 1968, poster depicts the film perfectly. Too controversial for the Communists, film was banned and reappeared again by the end of the 1980s, same for the poster. Film posters created for majority of banned films were designed by the most appealing artists of the time. It is hard to tell if designing of film posters for censored movies had any effect on their future art profession. Vladimír Bidlo’s main focus laid on book illustration and after producing several dozens of excellent film posters he fully returned to that.

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Note: Artist’s showcase is part of our ongoing article Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters..

Available film posters by Vladimír Bidlo.

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Resources:

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Poster Designs / Sixties – Jiří Balcar. The Story of Film Posters.

Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.

Poster Designer / Jiří Balcar

Painting / Graphic Art / Typography

The Death of Tarzan, Film poster, 60s Poster Art

The Death of Tarzan movie poster by Jiří Balcar, 1962.

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  • 26th of August 1929, Kolín
  • 28th of August 1968, Prague

Education:

  • 1947-1948, Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague
  • 1948-1953, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (prof. F. Tichý, F. Muzika)

Awards:

  • 1960, The most beautiful book of the Year, (Brno ?)
  • 1962, Toulouse-Lautrec Prize, Paris (film poster Moby Dick)
  • 1964, Honorable Mention, First Czechoslovak Showcase of Poster and Promotional Graphic Art, Brno1

Film posters created: 34 (1960-1967)2

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Excellent 60s poster design by Jiri Balcar

This Year in September movie poster by Jiří Balcar, 1963.

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Czech artist Jiří Balcar could easily belong to one of the most fascinating poster designers of the Sixties. It’s hard to judge by the small number of his posters in our collection, but his artwork as we are finding out, spreads all across the globe (short list bellow). Internationally started off at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison (New Jersey) where he took part in International Invitational Seminar of Art, followed by exhibition in New York in 19643 , Berlin (1965-66) and Wien (1966). Paris exhibition in Musée d’Art Moderne (1969) was held soon after his early death in 1968.

A wide spectrum of his artistic experiments are brought in from the painting and are reflected in his poster designs. Extensive use of letter templates, sometimes broken into separate parts, wise and bright selection of colours (unless Monochromatic, or sensible mix of both), unconventional use of photography and perfect understanding of space. His faceless figures, motif reappearing on several of his paintings, could become alive only on the film poster.

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Movie poster, The Dacians, 60s poster design

The Dacians movie poster by Jiří Balcar, 1967.

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Jiří Balcar was the member of several art groups.

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His artwork takes place in collections of museums and galleries worldwide. We have picked little selection with direct links.

  • The Baruch Foundation (impressive collection of Jiří Balcar‘s portfolio and other artists from behind the “Iron Curtain”), Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • The British Museum, London, United Kingdom
  • Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Czech Museum of Fine Arts, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, USA
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA
  • Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Note: this showcase is part of our ongoing article Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters.

Sixties film posters available in our shop.

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Literature:

  • 2.  Flashback / Czech and Slovak Film Posters 1959-1989, ed. Libor Gronský, Marek Perůtka, Michal Soukup, Olomouc Museum of Art, 2004. (p.41)

Online resources:

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Poster Designs / Sixties – Rudolf Altrichter. The Story of Film Posters.

Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.

Poster Designer / Rudolf Altrichter

Painting / Graphic Art / Typography.

Before God and Man, poster by Rudolf Altrichter

Before God and Man movie poster by Rudolf Altrichter, 1968.

  • 10th of June 1916, Vienna
  • 8th of September 1978, Bratislava

Education:

  • 1938, Business High School, Trenčín
  • University of Economy, Bratislava

Awards:

  • 1966, Prize for the most beautiful poster of the year.

Film posters created: 32 (1959-1972)1

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It is fairly interesting when thinking of Rudolf Altrichter’s designs for film posters, that behind all this visual trickery is hidden self-taught artist. Originally trained as a sales man (worked also for Bata / shoemaker company) he became one of the most influential Slovak graphic artist. In his thirties he became one of the establishing members of newly reopen Slovak Art Society (1946) and year later co-founder of Association of Slovak Graphic Artists (1947).

Rudolf Altrichter’s film posters are full of visual harmony, unusually blended by pure abstraction and the hints of reality. Human element appears to be one of his strongest standing point, no matter if it is design for art exhibition, film or political poster. Visual harmony is also represented by the use of elegant thin lines and curvy almost psychedelic shapes. Absurdity of the war, another of his characteristic motifs, can be also seen on several of his film posters. Film poster designed for French drama Dangerous Love Affairs / Dangerous Liaisons (shown bellow, designed in 1969), belongs to the selection of the most significant acquisitions of the Poster and Graphic Design Collection of Slovak National Gallery.

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Note: this showcase is part of our ongoing article Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters.

Available film posters by Rudolf Altrichter or other interesting film posters designed in Sixties.

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Literature:

  • 1. Flashback / Czech and Slovak Film Posters 1959-1989, ed. Libor Gronský, Marek Perůtka, Michal Soukup, Olomouc Museum of Art, 2004. (p.39)

Resources:

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Poster Designs – Anonymous Artists / Sixties. The story of film posters.

Movie posters in history. Showcase of 1960s poster designs.

Poster Designer / Anonymous Artists

It would be very hard to define a common practice or visual language of Anonymous poster designers in Czechoslovakia. Even harder with Sixties, as the period offered so much surprises and unpredictable twists in both politics and culture. It seems like one can never live without the other (somehow never in successful harmony). Specially politicians were always dependant on cultural demagogy, using visual propaganda to their needs.

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Careful and very modern selection of colours was used for both parts of Knights of the Black Cross, 1961.

War movies were always highlights, particularly those showing war heroes in Socialist sort of way. Ongoing currency, no matter what’s the weather.

Symbols, hints and playful thoughts were always around poster making.

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There is nothing unusual about Anonymous artists (if own decision), but being unknown artist in the discipline, where displaying signature is relevant/appropriate (n. Karel Vaca, Dobroslav Foll, Karel Teissig and others) raises several questions.

Earlier in the second part of our article on history of poster art  in Czechoslovakia we have mentioned censorship as the part / instrument of the Communist doctrine. Communist party was  the one and only expert on art, which might sound funny but the reality was not so much, Social Realism did exist, after all. In addition to films ÚPF (Ústřední Půjčovna Filmů/ Formal state distribution 1957 – 1991) was also commissioning movie posters. Both were deciding what could be shown in the cinemas. Were they somehow responsible for hiding artists identity?

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From Switzerland to Vietnam, poster designs made by Unknown Artists covered all sorts of spectacular, if not even controversial movies.

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We know that the film poster committee always consisted of few graphic artists (2-3). They would constantly try to give green light to the proposed poster designs. Were they also turning the blind eye to help fellow artists (obstacle/potential traitors and pests1) in getting at least some sort of a commission? We believe it could be possible as the demand for the movies was quite high and each movie had to have its own poster. Still, for some reasons several artists had to remain unknown.

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By the end of Sixties photography techniques were commonly used in various poster designs. Above another example of photograph overtaking the space.

The Sweet Games of Last Summer (1970), based on Guy de Maupassant’s novel was premiered in Czechoslovakia only once. Film directed by Juraj Herz (The Cremator) came back to distribution again in 19882.

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Looking at their movie posters many years later, we can observe some fascinating poster designs. They do not lack any of the visual qualities of other Czechoslovak poster artists. The pity is, they could never take part in any of the ongoing poster exhibitions of the time. We will possibly never be able to find out who were the authors of those magnificent movie posters, or how many artists were creating anonymously, but they surely deserve our appreciation. Until 1989 hundreds of poster designs were created by Unknown artists. There was no one to hide from after that.

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Literature:

  • 1.  Toto čudesné 21.Storočie / This peculiar 21st century (unofficial translation), Tomáš Štrauss, Kalligram 2009. (Book is not so much about the movie posters, but Tomáš Štrauss, expert on Totalitarian, art critic/historian, said it to the point)
  • 2. https://sk.wikipedia.org/

Note on previous articles:

Other posters designs by Unknown artists on jozefSquare.

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Movie posters by Jaroslav Fišer and his collaboration with Věra Chytilová

Poster art by Jaroslav Fišer for Věra Chytilová’s films.

We can hardly hide our excitement about BFI’s wonderful retrospective of one of the most innovative Czech filmmakers Věra Chytilová. It is also a very good opportunity to introduce the work of Jaroslav Fišer, prolific graphic designer and author of several posters for her films.

Jaroslav Fišer studied at the Technical University in Prague and at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague, former Czechoslovakia. During 1959 – 1987 Jaroslav Fišer designed 104 movie posters and his poster for film The Apple Game won a Silver Hugo at the International Film Festival in Chicago, USA.

BFI’s tribute to the director is organised in collaboration with Czech Centre, London and Czech National Film Archive and is on from 1st March – 17th March 2015.

Movie posters designed for Věra Chytilová’s films:

Selection of movie posters by Jaroslav Fišer: