"Gunter Rambow - posters" exhibition. Laureate of Jana Lenica Award, 2008
Icons of Design exhibition, 2005
J. Młodożeniec, Giselle, Adolphe Charles Adam, 1968
J. Lenica, Egg, Felicien Marceau, 1957

Gallery curator: Irena Przymus

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The Poster Section was established in the National Museum in Poznań in June 1968. It embraced the collection of ca. 2 000 posters gathered intermittently since the early 20th century. In 1975 the Section was transformed into an independent Poster Division, which in 1991 along with the Division of Industrial Design formed the Gallery of Poster and Design.The structure of the Gallery in the statute of the National Museum looks as follows:

  •     Division of Polish Poster
  •     Division of Foreign Poster
  •     Division of Industrial Design
  •     Division of Advertisement and Visual Communication
  •     Division of Documentation

The poster collection, the second largest of its kind in Poland, contains at present 37 000 titles, including 15 800 Polish and 21 200 foreign posters. The oldest poster comes from 1883, and among the authors of posters represented there are such names as T.T. Heine, L. Hohlwein, J. Klinger, J.M. Olbrich, and A.M. Cassandre. Starting from 1968 special care has been taken to acquire on an ongoing basis the most valuable Polish posters published. With respect to foreign posters, in turn, efforts have been taken to acquire new objects by means of exchange with museums and foreign collectors and donations by designers themselves. To the extent it was possible, the collection has also been extended with posters from the period preceding the formal establishment of the poster section in the Museum.

At the same time work aiming at the fullest possible scientific analysis of the collection began. This was helped especially by the monograph exhibitions of outstanding poster authors which summed up the output of the artists until the time of the show. Frequently these were pioneering comprehensive studies of the oeuvre of such artists as Jan Lenica (1973), Franciszek Starowieyski (1975), Maciej Urbaniec (1975) Jan Młodożeniec (1979), Jan J. Aleksiun, Eugeniusz Get Stankiewicz (1980) Roman Cieślewicz (1981), Rosław Szaybo (1981) Leszek Hołdanowicz (1989), Henryk Tomaszewski (1993), and Lex Drewinski (1997). These were comprehensive accounts of the personalities of the artists whose activity was by no means limited to posters; consequently their works from other areas of graphic design were also gathered. As a result, the collection was extended by serigraphic works by Get Stankiewicz, photomontages by Roman Cieślewicz, LP envelopes by Rosław Szaybo, drawings by Jan Młodożeniec and Grzegorz Marszałek, and illustrations by Jerzy Czerniawski.

A series of thematic exhibitions has been organised: Polish film poster (1969), Polish theatre poster (1975), Polish circus poster (1977), contemporary French poster (1991), contemporary Japanese poster (1994), photographs in the Japanese poster (2000), and animal motifs in the Japanese poster (2004). For many years the Gallery of Poster and Design has hosted a series of events which accompany the Warsaw Poster Biennale but take place outside Warsaw (e.g. in Gniezno, Toruń, Łódź, and Poznań).

The collection is fully digitalised as far as texts are concerned. At present databases are being supplemented with electronic illustrations. The Centre for the Documentation of Poster Art works on the basis of the databases generated, related not only to the objects but their authors, bibliographies, lists of awards and recognitions, archival photographs, letters, etc. The scope of the Centre's activity will surpass the confines of the collection in the National Museum in Poznań.   

The Division of Industrial Design specialises, as the only Polish museum, in the collection of examples of foreign design. The collection is currently under construction and its underlying idea is to bring out the contrast between the design of Northern Europe (the Nordic countries) and the design of the South (mainly Italy). So far Scandinavian design is best represented by objects from Finland. 320 objects provide insight into the most interesting period in the development of Finnish design, ranging from stools and Alvar Alto glassware to Kaj Franck plastic tables, chairs and cutlery. The collection is in possession of, for instance, works e.g. Tapio Wirkkala, Heikki Orvola, Timo Sarpaneva, and Jorma Vennola. The collection likewise possesses a comprehensive set of products by a renowned Finnish Fiskars company, specialising in the manufacture of cutting tools. Swedish design is represented by 100 objects, while Danish one by a set of 4 "Vola" fittings by Arne Jacobsen and utensils by Stelton company designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Magnussen, as well as audio-visual Bang & Olufsen equipment.

A contrary tendency of thinking about a designed object is represented by Italian design. The Museum collection houses predominantly furniture, lamps, ceramics and glassware designed by the Milan-based group MEMPHIS. In 1981 Ettore Sottsass, its founder, along with a number of other designers decided to part with the Alchymia group, whose main theoretician was Alessandro Mendini. The activities of both groups aim at working out a decorative aesthetics which might, in theory at least, combine mass culture with art. Both groups have ushered in the development of the most important experimental current of Milan post-radical avant-garde. Designers of the Memphis Group whose objects are part of the collection of the National Museum in Poznań are Ettore Sottsass, Matteo Thun, Michele De Lucchi, Nathalie Du Pasquier, George J. Sowden, and Martine Bedin.

The collection is immeasurably enriched by objects designed by world-famous designers for the Italian Alessi company, now a world leader in contemporary design, as well as by lamps designed for the Artemide company (Ettore Sottsass, Mario Botta, Richard Sapper). The history of the origin and development of Alessi is an example of a consistent and continuous progress, conditioned by ever-changing technological advancements and the equally vital vision of the company's management. The collection possesses objects that have now attained the status of classics of design, i.e. the "Juicy Salif" lemon squeezer and the "Hot Bertaa" kettle by Philippe Starck, as well as kettles designed by such great architects as Michael Graves, Frank Gehry, and Aldo Rossi.

The Division of Advertisement and Visual Communication gathers now predominantly the most interesting objects from annual national reviews of calendars, "Vidical", in Wilanów.

Objects are not present in the permanent collection.