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Judy and Steve Weinstein Poster Collection

 Collection
Identifier: PC 2
This collection of posters has a strong focus on questioning the American status quo, evident by posters supporting Communism, peace, and an upright government. There was also a concentration concerning cultural events such as museum openings, movies, and concerts. Posters concerning China and Russia count towards a significant portion of the collection.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1981
  • 1931 - 1981

Conditions Governing Access

Available by appointment only. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (1 oversized map folder)

Overview

A collection of over 30 posters accumulated by the donor that generally encourage counter-cultural thinking in regards to politics.

Biographical / Historical

Posters have long promoted the agendas and ideas of individuals. In 1798, Aloïs Senefelder of Bohemia, Germany invented the lithograph. This machine enabled those interested to print materials with greater ease as well as being faster and cheaper than previous alternatives. Jules Chéret of Paris, France innovated upon Senefelder’s invention in 1860. Prints could now be made while showcasing multiple colors. Upon this discovery, Chéret began to produce works of art, posting them against the drab walls of Paris. Contrasted by the neutral toned buildings, the color was rather obvious. Other artists joined Chéret in poster art. Soon posters were being used as means of advertisement. Posters were so prevalent in France that an ordinance was approved in 1881 requiring stamps of approval before they could be posted. Also, a fee was charged based on the size of the poster. This act led to their standardization. In turn, they began to be recognized by museums and galleries as legitimate forms of art. Over time the styles of posters mirrored the current art trends. These methods included Art Nouveau and Dada. In the end the official protocol was simple and clear designs. These proved to be most effective in representing the message of the poster. Various governments used posters as propaganda throughout times of war, and this was especially apparent during World War I. Leaders sought to raise funds, recruit soldiers, and conserve resources. Tourism became another outlet for posters. Film posters followed in Russia and the Netherlands. With the introduction of television the demand for posters decreased, however they made a comeback in the 1960’s amid the Vietnam War and the new interest in pop music.

Propaganda posters in both Russia and China sought to instruct mass audiences on correct moral behavior and Communist beliefs. Posters were effective tools for various reasons. On a practical note, other means of communication were not yet developed. Also, many citizens did not possess the ability to read. Well-drawn pictures easily conveyed their intended message. Posters reached their height in China during the Cultural Revolution. They were introduced to Russia at the advent of the Revolution of October 1917. The posters were plastered all over towns and could be found in schools, train stations, factories, cafeterias, and on the streets. Due to their artistic quality, many Chinese posted them in their homes for decoration. While their intent was ornamental, the message from the propaganda was delivered as well. Often posters promoted mechanization and new technology. Both Lenin and Chairman Mao were presented positively in posters, though the styles in which the posters were designed differed. As Russia evolved and her priorities changed, so too did her posters. China’s general style was consistent throughout the Cultural Revolution. Following the Revolution, however, new leadership was assumed and tactics changed. Posters were still used, but they promoted more moderate ideas such as hygiene, education, and culture. This was a stark difference in contrast to fighting and sacrificing for the common good. Over time, the average lifestyle in China was elevated. More emphasis was put on fun, and less on political agendas. Political posters faded away.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Judy and Steve Weinstein, December 2009

Bibliography

Barnicoat, John. Posters: a Concise History. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985.
Bestley, R. and Noble, I. Up Against the Wall: International Poster Design. Mies: RotoVision, 2002.
Bonnell, Victoria E. Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
Cushing, Lincoln and Tompkins, Ann. Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007.
Min, Anchee. Chinese Propaganda Posters. Los Angeles: Taschen, 2003.
Hutchison, Harold Frederick. The Poster: An Illustrated History from 1860. New York: Viking Press, 1968.
Lafont, Maria. Soviet Posters: The Sergo Grigorian Collection. New York: Prestel Publishing, 2007.
Muller-Brockmann, Josef. History of the Poster. London, New York: Phaidon Press, 2004.
Ward, Alex. Power to the People: Early Soviet Propaganda posters in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 2007.

Processing Information

Processed by Caly McCarthy, July – August 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Newark Public Library Repository

Contact:
5 Washington Street
PO Box 630
Newark NJ 07102 USA
973-733-7745