THE ART HOUSE: THE BEAUTIFUL MOVIE POSTERS OF POST-WAR GERMANY
Imagine a time and a place where normal marketing methods didn’t dictate process, where the goal of making a poster was to reach an audience who were actually interested in film. Reaching people with an idea is what mattered, not whether something should be redder or bigger or isolate every single last supporting character from an upcoming blockbuster. Production costs and techniques may have been limited, but those restrictions bore a well of creativity. From the early 1950s until the late 1970s, such a place existed in a briskly evolving Europe. With cinema found lacking in post-war Germany, three distribution companies began carving out names for themselves, bringing home from abroad a diverse set of art house films coupled with a unique approach to advertising. The approach to crafting a movie poster in America was felt to be an exhausted avenue unsuitable for the needs of the German public, and so Atlas Film, Constantin Film, and Neue Filmkunst each sought out a burgeoning group of young artists to bring forth a new means of visual communication to the public.
For over two decades, they painted, drew, used photography, mixed media, and made montages, employing different methods based off of the different subject matters within each respected film. Everything was up for grabs, from the literal to the surreal and the symbolic. And the output was astounding: more than two hundred posters were created, ranging from advertisements for silent American classics to the New Wave of Truffaut and Godard, each striking yet appropriate in their own way. Ferry Ahrlé, Karl Oskar Blase, Heinz Edelmann, Fritz Fischer and Dorothea Fischer-Nosbisch, Hans Hillmann, Jan Lenica, Günther Kieser, Hans Michel, Isolde Monson-Baumgart, Gunter Rambow, Gerhard Lienemeyer, Wolfgang Schmidt, and Tostmann Werbetechnik brought new life to well known favorites for an audience hungry for the best that cinema had to offer.
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