Film posters in history. Sixties poster designs.
Poster Designer / Josef Duchoň
Book Illustration / Fine Art / Graphic Design / Typography
- b. 17th January 1929, Hostěradice (Prague-West), Czech Republic
- 1945 − 1949, State Graphic School, Prague (Richard Lander)
- 1949 − 1955, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague (Karel Svolinský)
- Association of Czech Graphic Artists Hollar / Sdružení českých umělců grafiků Hollar (1957)
- May 57 / Máj 57 (1964)
Remember the day when we were unfolding our first large size movie poster. There was quite an excitement about the whole thing. Firstly it was about the size of a poster. All of our movie posters were in A3 size until then and we were astonished by the remarkable change in dimensions. Almost three times larger in size, movie poster offered much clearer detail and we had impression that printing was handled with slightly extra care. For common reason as we had later found out, A1 posters were bit more representative, they were used occasionally for poster exhibitions. Our second astonishment was the visual content.
Josef Duchoň’s lovingly puzzled collage for children’s adventurous movie set in the jungle (Black Mountain, 1972) was tenderly looking at us. What a joy! His movie posters have become one of our most favourite ever since. As we are describing the temperature, we could also mention, that we have very similar feelings towards Ever Alexander Půček‘s children’s posters.
Fascination of Josef Duchoň with children’s fantasy is in the right place and it was frequently reflected in his book illustrations. From 1959 he was co-working for the State publisher of children book as an illustrator. Early 1960s brought Josef Duchoň also to movie poster design. He created over two dozens of exceptionally impressive movie posters in period of almost 20 years1.
His work is extremely explosive, but not in a destructive way. On the other hand, Josef Duchoň is using the mixture of several artistic methods to reach viewer’s sensation. As a surreal artist his choice of collage technique is natural. Wonderful variation of live pastel colours achieved by the use of elegantly shaped and carefully placed woodcuts and his manipulation with objects is masterful. Thanks to monochrome cut outs and neat typography his movie posters are gaining quite significant depth and very vibrant character.
Josef Duchoň started exhibiting as a member of Association of Czech Graphic Artists Hollar in mid 1950s2. (Important art group established in Prague, 1917.) Among 1613 Czech leading artists and graphic designers one can find other interesting poster artists such as Jiří Balcar, Adolf Born, Jan Kubíček, Jiří Šalamoun or Jaroslav Sůra to name few.
His first solo exhibition is dated to 1960. Liberal Czechoslovakia allowed Josef Duchoň to exhibit work also internationally. He took part in Biennale of Young Artists / Paris (France, 1963), Intergrafik / Berlin (Germany, 1965), Myth of the XXth Century / Coventry (UK, 1967) or in exhibition of Czech graphic artists in Oregon (USA, 1967). It seems that 1970s political changes stopped his exhibition activities for some time. There was no place for surreal, or any sort of abstraction in uniformed Czechoslovakia. However children’s publications were not censored, anything was possible in there and movie posters just very mildly4. Josef Duchoň remained faithful to a fantasy.
Note: this showcase is part of our ongoing article Film posters / Made in Czechoslovakia. The story of film posters.
Please see other fascinating posters designed by the artist.
- 1. Collective authors: Czech film posters of 20th century / The Moravian Gallery in Brno, Exlibris Prague, 2004. Josef Duchoň’s movie poster appears in year 1964 in their chronological catalogue. Our poster archive dates his movie poster activity up to 1981.
- 2. abArt / Josef Duchoň / Big thanks to abArt for their research on invisible.
- 3. cs.Wikipedia.org / Association of Czech Graphic Artists Hollar
- Prostor / Extensive list of artist’s exhibitions.
- 4. Read more about censorship in our article about anonymous artists.
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