1910-1930

Polish poster art in the 1910s clearly reflects the art influence of its time. The two prints from 1910 are drawn in the distinct Art Nouveau style. Both depict art exhibitions in Lwów, the city that was Poland’s major cultural hub until the country’s borders shifted in 1945.
Jozef Mehoffer 1910
Jozef Mehoffer
1910
The motifs from Józef Mehoffer’s poster for the Polish Art Exhibition in 1910 bear a noticeable resemblance to Art Nouveau trailblazer Alphonse Mucha’s Slavia, first printed in 1896. Both depict a Slavic girl, hair in braids entwined with ribbons, dressed in national garb, adorned with flowers. In other words, a romantic version of Slavic culture.
Alphonse Mucha 1896
Alphonse Mucha
1896

Slavia was part of a series of advertisements for a Czech insurance company, though the thematic nature of the print displays no ties to the insurance business. Similarly, Mehoffer’s depiction of a Slavic girl in national dress bears no direct correlation to the exhibition. Similarly, Sichulski’s poster from a Lwów Architecture Exhibition in 1910 does not depict a specific structure, rather three figures dressed in colorful costumes and wreaths in their hair. Often Art Nouveau style did not focus on presenting a tangible item. Rather, it served to interpret the item or event in human or mystical form. In these two prints, there are no clear markers symbolizing the city, but the sense that Lwów is a cultural and artistic hub is clearly projected.

Kazimierz Sichulski 1910
Kazimierz Sichulski
1910
After 150 years, Poland regained its independence in 1918.  During the twenty year interwar period, Polish poster artists developed a class of their own . The center for poster art moved from Krakow to Warsaw. Most the most prominent poster designers of this time were Tadeusz Gronowski and Edmund Bartłomiejczyk. The artists began combining graphic art and architecture, bringing Polish poster style closer to the Art Deco styles of the era.  
Artist Unknown 1929
Artist Unknown
1929
Artist Unknown 1925
Artist Unknown
1925
The 1920s posters retained many folk and traditional motifs, though the gradual shift to industry is clear. For example, the poster advertising Upper Silesia, reflects the country’s shift away from agriculture and towards industrialization. Poland received the former German region of Upper Silesia after WWI. The region was rich in natural resources such as coal. Similarly, the port of Gdynia (previously the German city of Gdingen) became part of Poland after the war. Here the poster hails Gdynia as a “new” port on the Baltic Sea, though of course it was only “new” in its inclusion within Polish borders.  
Artist Unknown 1925
Artist Unknown
1925
More from the 1920s