Moderne Deutsche Plakate 1890–1933
   Modern German Posters 1890–1933

Modern German Posters 1890–1933
Lucian Bernhard (1908) Stiller
Takeo Poster Collection
Even before World War II, fin-de-siècle art magazines such as PAN and Jugend as well as the graphic design work of Bauhaus were already well-known in Japan.  In spite of their wide recognition, however, no exhibitions have been held to connect the two eras and present the development of German graphics at the time—or, particularly, to introduce the entire scope of modern poster design.
     The so-called ‘painting-like’ posters that enter the limelight at the end of the nineteenth century, especially in France with works such as those by Toulouse-Lautrec, can be traced back to the German invention of lithography by Alois Senefelder in 1796/98 (and chromolithography by Godefroy Engelman in 1837).  Even with its rich history of printing, beginning with Gutenberg’s press, Germany receives the influence of France—above all Paris—and England in its production of modern posters from around 1900 onward, with a heightened interest in graphics as a new visual medium that combines image and text.
     The first golden age of graphics arrives before World War I, characterized by the so-called Sachplakat (‘object poster’ or ‘objective poster’), a new approach different from that of ‘painting-like’ posters.  Berlin, with artists such as Lucian Bernhard and Julius Klinger, stands at the center of this movement.  Bernhard in particular, as the flag-bearer of the Sachplakat, breaks down advertisement posters into three parts—image, background, and text—, creating an entirely new format that allows posters not only to be aesthetically pleasing but also to transmit information instantaneously.  An example representative of his work is the poster designed for Stiller, a footwear outlet, in 1908.
     The poster, a new art field, also makes ties with commerce and rapidly broadens its base.  Passionate collectors emerge, including Hans Sachs of Berlin who founds the Verein der Plakatfreunde in 1905 and issues the magazine Das Plakat, contributing to the popularization of this newly-arisen art form.  The effectiveness of information graphics as practiced in commercial poster design is also put to use in propaganda posters in the political sphere, as seen in pro-war and defense posters during World War I as well as postwar political campaign posters.  In regard to their shared aim of the effective transmission of messages, the lines between advertisement and propaganda become blurred.  With their experience in these two fields, a new generation of designers, including Bauhaus artists such as Herbert Bayer, brings forth the second golden age of German graphics before World War II.
     In the present exhibition, approximately 180 items including works and other materials that represent the reception and development of German posters in contemporaneous Japan—such as the ‘Calpis’ International Poster Design Competition, the activities of SUGIURA Hisui and the ‘Nananin-sha,’ and the ‘Exhibition of World War Posters’—will be on display, thus presenting the opportunity to inspect the appeal and advanced nature of German posters circa 1890–1933 from various perspectives.

     Exhibition structure, works on display
     Publicity materials


Related Events
Lecture: „Stürmische Entwicklung im öffentlichen Raum: Die Entwicklung des deutschen Plakats von den Anfängen bis in die 1930er Jahre“
Date: March 1 (Sat.)  1:30–3:00PM (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
Lecturer: René Grohnert (director, German Poster Museum)
in German with Japanese translation

Symposium: “Japonisme in Posters—Global Artistic Exchanges”
Date: March 22 (Sat.)  1:30–5:00PM (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
Co-organization: The Society for the Study of Japonisme
in Japanese only

Exhibition Dates
Tuesday, February 26 – Sunday, March 30, 2008
Closed on Mondays

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Osaka Head Office
Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

German Consulate General Osaka-Kobe, Japan
Goethe-Institut Kyoto
Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA)
Japanese Society for the Science of Design (JSSD)

Vivant Joie International Co., Ltd.

Special Collaboration
Takeo Company Limited

Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Lufthansa Cargo AG
Shirokiya Art Supplies & Framing

Pola Art Foundation

  Day of admission Advance Group (20 or more)
Adult 1,300 1,100 1,000
University students 1,000 800 700
High school students 600 400 300
Junior high and younger Free Free Free

Advance tickets: Ticket Pia, FamilyMart (P code: 687-673), Lawson (L code:
55794), other major ticket vendors and convenience stores
Advance tickets available 2008/01/12 (Sat.) – 03/29 (Sat.)

Exhibition Structure
Please note that all English chapter titles are tentative.

I. The Pioneers of Modern German Posters: 1890–1900
II. The Golden Age of Modern German Posters: 1900–1914
     1.  The Blossoming of Poster Art in German Cities
     2.  Munich—The Advancement of Poster Art
     3.  Berlin—The Metropolis of Poster Art
     4.  Hans Sachs and the Verein der Plakatfreunde
III. Poster Art during World War I: 1914–1918
IV. The New Wave of Poster Art: 1919–1933
     1.  Political Posters
     2.  The Golden Twenties—A New Lifestyle
     3.  The Acquisition of a New Formal Language
V. German Posters in Japan: Their Reception and Development
     1.  Die Sechs and the Introduction of German Commercial Art
     2.  Nananin-sha and Affiche
     3.  Calpis International Poster Design Competition
     4.  Exhibition of World War Posters

Works on Display
Approximately 180 posters, magazines, and other affiliated materials from Germany and Japan circa 1890–1933.

Publicity Materials
Press release  PDF file (420KB)
in Japanese only


Poster (B2)  PDF file (189KB)

     Depending on the computer, it is possible to make the poster “blink”
     by zooming in and out on the PDF file.
     Please note that the actual poster will not blink.

Poster (B3)  PDF file (520KB)


Flyer  PDF file (665KB)


Other Museums
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art  2008/04/29 (Tue./holiday) – 06/01 (Sun.)
Utsunomiya Museum of Art  2008/11/23 (Sun.) – 12/28 (Sun.)

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