The poster was the quickest and most expressive medium in reflecting the change of sensibility during the 1920s, when the principles of modern visual communication were formed under the concept of ‘the new typography’. At that time the poster was seen as a new means of expression in the urban space; art of that time worked towards an affinity with the universal intelligibility of the poster.
The collection of Ladislav Sutnar’s posters from the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague exhibited here demonstrates the transformations that this medium underwent between the 1920s and 1960s in the work of a leading figure of European new typography.
Poster design of the 1920s documents how painting and drawing were abandoned in favour of the potential provided by printing machines. However work with the letter and sign in the poster soon came up against the fact that Czech printing works were insufficiently equipped. In the second half of the 1920s Sutnar was one of the first to experiment with photomontage
in the Czech context.
Jan Tschichold’s publication The New Typography of 1928 contributed to promoting the principles of visual simplicity and precision across the whole of Europe. Ladislav Sutnar, who maintained working contacts with Tschichold, was also influenced by this publication. In 1930 he organised the Prague staging of the exhibition The New Poster, which introduced to the Czech context works of European new typography such as those by El Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy and Piet Zwart.
The set of Sutnar’s posters dating from the 1930s ranks among the most mature works of European new typography. It has frequently been exhibited and published, earning respect for the posters’ optical effectiveness and compositional perfection. In them, Sutnar works inventively with contrasts, negative colour, precise geometry and bold spatial construction. He uses photomontage as a means of surprising the viewer. Together, these visual elements enable swift and clear communication in the chaotic setting of the city.
Sutnar’s collection of posters from the 1920s and ’30s demonstrates the rich diversity in culture and activities of art associations in inter-war Czechoslovakia, in which Sutnar played an important role not only as an artist and designer but also as an organiser. In the United States, where he emigrated in 1939, he didn’t have as many opportunities to design posters. Despite this, his poster that was part of the advertising campaign for the firm Addo-x ranks among the most interesting American posters of the second half of the 20th century. With its European Modernist aesthetics and poetic transcendence, it differed markedly from advertising practice that was common at the time. Sutnar himself considered his American work in the field of visual design as the continuation of the new typography in the dynamically changing social and technological conditions of the 20th century.
Ladislav Sutnar perceived posters as an important part of a powerful movement that, during the 1920s and ’30s, modernised the entire lifestyle of society. For this reason he took great care in clarifying their context, as is documented by his correspondence published in the book Ladislav Sutnar in Texts (2010).

Curator / Iva Knobloch

Organised by he Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
and the Institute of Art and Design of the University of West Bohemia.

Patronage / Mgr. Martin Baxa / Mayor of the City of Pilsen

Institute of Art and Design of the University of West Bohemia

DP – The Mark of a Good Book
Ladislav Sutnar, 1930
colour linotype, 890 x 600 mm
prepared) permanent display) 2017) 2016) 2015) 2014) 2013) 2012) 2011) 2010) 2009) 2008) 2007) 2006) 2005) 2004)
Matchbox) Two Phenomena of...) Path of New...) Alberto Vojtěch...) BRAVOS –...) All the Best!...) Hommage à...) From Neuwelt to...) Josef Sudek: From...) Jiří...) Artists’ Books on...) Alois Zych:...) Dana Vachtová’s...) Prague Fashion...) Ota Hájek:...) In Search of Glass)
C2090-420 000-297 250-311 000-886 C2160-667 1Z0-053 Hp2-B29 000-890 1Z1-591 LOT-756 E20-555 000-M236 70-235 HP2-T23 A2150-536 SGO-001 A2010-571 RH302 642-091 070-639 000-373 E20-017 070-515 HP0-729 GCIA 650-059 HP2-B44 9A0-142 000-431 000-719 LOT-926 MD0-235 70-244 650-173 1Y0-200 EW0-200 CSM-001 50-565 SG1-001 050-676 COG-706 1Z1-877 MB3-465 MB3-701 NS0-120 070-552-Csharp 642-355 70-554-Csharp HP3-X11 920-257 C_TFIN52_65 090-077 TB0-115 98-365 P2090-025 1Z1-895 C2010-652 646-057 050-892 E20-830 000-971 EE0-602 050-864 GD0-110 70-271 090-056 642-533 920-133 HP0-264 000-N24 E20-326 642-996 646-046 BH0-005 922-080 642-164 HP2-Z25 HP0-781 C2140-130 70-330 BCP-410 1T6-215 642-747 HP0-045 070-501 000-863 MB6-509 920-431 HP0-D11 920-470 310-200 00M-640 C2080-474 70-552-VB 1Z1-868 MB3-409 50-690 000-962 EE0-505 M2020-248 000-M38 HP0-Y38 070-552-VB 70-667 4H0-110 70-518 E20-517 P6040-025 HP0-277 70-262