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Exhibition

Lucian Bernhard 1883-1972)
Advertisement and Design at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

14 February – 14 March 2013, Museum of Applied Art

Author of the Exhibition: Hubert Riedel
Exhibition coordinator: Milica Cukić, MAA
Organizers: Goethe-Institut Belgrad and
Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade

Opening ceremony: Thursday, 14th of February 2013, 7 p.m.
Mr. Hubert Riedel, author of the exhibition will attend the opening ceremony.

The retrospective of works of Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972) has been conceived as the first exhibition of a seriesthat the German Institute for Foreign Relations (Ifa) realizes with the aim to represent the creations of “the icon of design”to the broadest public. It was thanks tothe years long meticulousexplorations carried out by Hubert Riedel thatwe can now gain a detailed insight into the life and creations of Lucian Bernhard.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

Lucian Bernhard (1883 - 1972) was a German artist who played an important role in shaping the visual language of modern advertising that would matchboth the needs of the fast economic growth and rhythm of life it dictates. He is the author of object posters (Sachplakatt)which restricted the image to simply the object being advertised and the brand name. The contemporary poster design art cannot be taken into consideration without assessment of his contribution. Logos of big companies like Bosch, Kaffee HAG, Pelikan, etc. even today are based on designs Bernhard proposed at the beginning of the last century.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

New poster art won recognitionin Germany only in the 1890s having centres in Munich and Berlin. At the beginning of the twentieth century the contemporaries considered the poster design to be of greatest significance. This is proved by regular poster exhibitions held and the fact that the public cultural institutions soon established relevant collections like the ones existing in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg and Stuttgart. These collections were significant agents encouraging professional approach to advertising. The same role belonged to the “Association of Poster Fans” founded in Berlin in 1905.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa
© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa
© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

Ursula Zellerwrote in the preface to theexhibitioncatalogue: “The early development of design art has been most significantly influenced by Lucian Bernhard. He played the decisive role in building up of a highly functional approach which marked the poster design style at the beginning of the twentieth century. He was also the first professor ever for poster art at the recently founded Department for Advertising Design. In his Berlinstudio he used to create designs for posters, advertisements, lettering and logos but he also made first steps in developing the concept of corporative identity that was best appliedonly in our time, i.e. hundred years later”.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

Bernhard brand designs (Bosch, Stiller, Audi…) outlived their creator. And his impact was felt for long time even if his name was not remembered any more. Bernhard himself became prey to the fleeting character of his own creations. The broader audience forgot his glory as soon as his advertisement board posters lost their shine and his daily newspaper ads faded.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

It should also be noted that this is the first independent retrospective exhibition of the opus of Lucian Bernhard which follows museological standards and was designed for museum and gallery spaces specifically. His creations have not been presented in such detail either in Germany or in the USA where Bernhard had lived since 1923. The exhibition will offer unique possibilityto our design fans to get insight into the works of one of the advertising and design pioneers at the beginning of the twentieth century.

© VG Bildkunst, Bon and ifa

Author of the Exhibition: Hubert Riedel
Exhibition coordinator: Milica Cukić, MAA
Organizers: Goethe-Institut Belgrad and Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade